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Hans BELLMER Photographe | Centre Georges Pompidou

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Directory: Traditional Collectibles: Books: References: Fine Art: Pre 1990: item # 338184

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Hans BELLMER Photographe | Centre Georges Pompidou
HANS BELLMER Photographe

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou/Filipacchi, 1983, 152pp., over 150 illustrations, some in color. The major book on the artist's erotic photos. French text. 4to., cloth, d.j. Protected against wear in Brodart Archival Mylar. MINT.

Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) was one of the most uncompromising artists of the twentieth century. An associate of the Dadaists and Surrealists, throughout his work he pursued a profoundly personal, eroticized vision that defies any simplistic categorization. Bellmer was born in Katowice, Poland, to a middle-class family. As a young man he was arrested in 1922 for exhibiting artwork that "undermined the moral supports of the state." In 1923 he moved to Berlin where, under the influence of George Grosz and others, he further developed the formidable skills in draftsmanship that underlie all his later graphic work. In 1933 Bellmer abandoned his established career as a publicity artist and cultivated an increasingly obsessive relationship with the remarkable dolls he had begun to fabricate (inspired by the discovery of a box of childhood toys) and photograph. In 1938 Bellmer relocated to Paris. The following year he was arrested -- along with Max Ernst -- and sent to an internment camp for German nationals, but released after a number of months. In 1941 he threw his passport down a sewer drain. Bellmer spent the remainder of his life in France, often in difficult circumstances. He died in Paris in 1975, and is buried next to Unica Zürn in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Bellmer’s friendships with literary figures such as Jöe Bousquet, Paul Eluard, and Georges Bataille resulted in a number of collaborations and illustrated books. His personal relations with women were often fraught with tragedy: his first wife, Margarete, died from tuberculosis; his second marriage ended in divorce; his lover and associate Nora Mitrani died before she could complete a biography of Bellmer entitled Rose au coeur violet (Rose with a Violet Heart); and his later collaborator and lover, the poet Unica Zürn, committed suicide by jumping from the window of his apartment after a protracted struggle with schizophrenia.

Bellmer’s diverse artistic output ranged from sculpture and objets provocateur, to drawings, gouaches, engravings, and photographs. In the decades since they were conceived, these explicit creations have lost none of their power—in fact, they have only become more controversial.

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