Hans Bellmer  (German, 1902-1975) 

Hans Bellmer (German, 1902–1975) was a photographer, sculptor, writer, and painter, associated with the Surrealist movement. Born in Katowice, Poland, Bellmer was coerced by his overbearing father into working at a steel factory and a coal mine, even after passing university entrance exams. He began studies in engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but left to pursue his interest in art and politics. Bellmer had become especially close to George Grosz, one of his drawing instructors, whose critical perspective on society influenced Bellmer''s studies and interests. In 1924, Bellmer worked as a book printer and illustrator at Malik Verlag, where he demonstrated artistic talent and contributed drawings to Dadaist novels. In the late 1920s, Bellmer began traveling and visited several countries, including France, Italy, and Tunisia. With the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the early 1930s, he stopped working as a means of resistance by refusing to provide support to the state; at this point, Bellmer established his artistic career and began creating the distorted, mannequin-like dolls for which he is best known. In 1933, Bellmer crafted the original Doll, since destroyed, and photographed it in a series of erotic postures. He published a collection of 10 of these images, accompanied by text, in Die Puppe (1934), and submitted a copy to the Parisian Surrealist magazine, Le Minotaure. The publication of Bellmer''s work confirmed his status within the Surrealist movement, as his art seemed to epitomize the Surrealist ideal of coupled attraction and aversion. Bellmer''s dolls, one of which he made with a large, bulbous abdomen and two hinged pelvises, often appear fragmented and mangled, as though appendages have been detached and rearranged. They seem naturalistic and fantastical at the same time, evoking an array of emotional responses, from recognition and excitement to fear and revulsion. Bellmer moved to Paris in 1938. He continued to draw in a unique figurative manner, and his work prominently featured themes of the subconscious, dreams, sexuality, lust, and death. His first solo exhibition took place in 1943 at the bookstore, Librairie Trentin, in Toulouse, France. Bellmer''s work has since been displayed in various museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY.

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Hans Bellmer, Les Milles en Feu


Hans Bellmer
Les Milles en Feu

Art Wise/Rare Posters
Hans Bellmer, Die Puppe (Les jeux de la poupée)


Hans Bellmer
Die Puppe (Les jeux de la poupée)

Hauser & Wirth Zürich London New York
Hans Bellmer, untitled


Hans Bellmer
circa 1960

Hans Bellmer, Rose Ou Vert La Nuit


Hans Bellmer
Rose Ou Vert La Nuit

Hans Bellmer, Untitled


Hans Bellmer

Art 45 ltd
Hans Bellmer, Les Milles en Feu


Hans Bellmer
Les Milles en Feu

Nikola Rukaj Gallery
Hans Bellmer, untitled 3


Hans Bellmer
untitled 3
circa 1972

Hans Bellmer, Les Jeux de la Popee (The Games of the Dolls)


Hans Bellmer
Les Jeux de la Popee (The Games of the Dolls)

Gallery Naruyama
Hans Bellmer, Untitled 5 - Woman with Table and Bowl


Hans Bellmer
Untitled 5 - Woman with Table and Bowl
circa 1996

Past auction results (2193)  View All
Hans Bellmer, Sans titre


Hans Bellmer
Sans titre


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Hans Bellmer, Petit traite de morale (X) (study)


Hans Bellmer
Petit traite de morale (X) (study), 1963
work on paper


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Hans Bellmer, Sans titre


Hans Bellmer
Sans titre, 1961
pencil, charcoal and gouache on paper


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1902   Born: Kattowitz, Poland
1923   Studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin
1924   Learned drawing and perspective from friend George Grosz
1925   Began artistic career designing advertisements as a commercial artist and illustrating various Dada novels (such as Das Eisenbahnglück oder der Antifreud by Mynona).
1975   Died in Paris, France
2009   Hans Bellmer: Octopus Time - Ubu Gallery, New York City, NY (solo)
La subversion des images. Surréalisme, photographie, film - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2008   Wunderkammer: a century of curiosities - MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
2007   EROS in der Kunst der Moderne, Foundation Beyeler, Riehen
2007   busy going crazy, La Maison Rouge, Paris
2007   Hans Bellmer, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK
2006   Auktion 23, Lehr, Auktionshaus und Galerie, Berlin
2006   Hans Bellmer, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Galerie 1900-2000, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2006   FLUTTER, The Approach, London, UK
2006   Beyond Real: Surrealist Photography and Sculpture from Bay Area Collections, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2005   Dalí, Picasso, and the Surrealist Vision, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
2005   Modernist Photography, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
2005   Auktion 20 and Auktion 21, Lehr, Auktionshaus und Galerie, Berlin
2005   Extraordinary Visions, David Nolan Gallery, New York, NY
2005   The White Rose, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY
2005   Begierde im Blick: Surrealistische Photographie, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
2004   Auktion 18 and Auktion 19, Lehr, Auktionshaus und Galerie, Berlin
2004   The Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection, The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH
2004   Im Rausch der Dinge, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur
2004   Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art from 1880 to the Present, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
2003   Geografie del mistero. Metafisica, dada, surrealismo, Il Narciso Galleria d´arte contemporanea, Rome
2003   Valley of the Dolls, Modernism, San Francisco, CA
2003   Phantom der Lust. Visionen des Masochismus in der Kunst, Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
2003   Flesh Tones: 100 Years of the Nude,Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
2003   Not Exactly Photographs, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002   Rendez-Vous mit dem Surrealismus: Arbeiten auf Papier,Galerie Dreiseitel, Cologne
2002   La Révolution surréaliste,Centre Pompidou, Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2001   "Sade surreal: Der Marquis de Sade und die erotische Fantasie des Surrealismus," Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
2001   "Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer," International Center of Photography, New York, NY
2001   "Hypermental: Wahnhafte Wirklichkeit, 1950-2000, Von Salvador Dali bis Jeff K," Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
2000   Some Summer Surrealists,The Mayor Gallery, London, UK
2000   La collection photographique,les Abattoirs de Toulouse, Toulouse
2000   Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) Photographien und Zeichnungen aus den 30er Jahren,Galerie Berinson, Berlin
1999   Surrealism: Two Private Eyes,Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1999   Hans Bellmer, David Nolan Gallery, New York, NY
1998   Auf den Spuren des Surrealismus: Gemälde und Zeichnungen,Galerie Brockstedt Berlin, Berlin
1998   Private ficcions,Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona
1998   Imagined World,David Nolan Gallery, New York, NY