Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Poupée atop Broken Wicker Chair

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Poupée atop Broken Wicker Chair

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Hans Bellmer


Poupée atop Broken Wicker Chair

Creation Date

ca. 1935

Medium & Support

gelatin silver print


5 11/16 in. x 5 9/16 in. (14.4 cm. x 14.2 cm.)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund  

Accession Number



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Hans Bellmer created two different versions of a disjointed, anatomically incorrect poupée (doll) which he would deconstruct and reassemble into various suggestive and disturbing poses. This was meant as a radical liberation, a breaking of taboos, and an exploration of the conflicting yet entwined impulses of desire and violence. Bellmer often used a layering technique as old as photography itself, applying hand-coloring to his black and white prints to heighten their shocking effects. Part of Bellmer’s motivation in creating such extreme images was the oppressive society in which he found himself as Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany: “If the origin of my work is scandalous, it is because, for me, the world is a scandal.”

Portfolios: OLD_FEATC|ENGL2451_181102| Reizbaum|Modernism and Surrealism in Photography   FEAT|Modern Art