Skip to Content
Closed today, next open tomorrow. Closed today, next open tomorrow.

The Doll (La Poupée)

A work made of gelatin silver print overpainted with white gouache.
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image actions

  • A work made of gelatin silver print overpainted with white gouache.




Hans Bellmer
German, born Poland, 1902–1975

About this artwork

Hans Bellmer studied art and worked in advertising in the 1920s; when the Nazis seized power in 1933, he renounced useful employment as a kind of protest. Because of his background in commercial design, Bellmer was comfortable with procedures of studio photography, which he employed in his doll series, begun that same year: posing of the model, lighting, use of props, and extensive manual interventions (coloring, retouching, overpainting) on the final prints. The doll pictures do violence to a girlish body that seems nearly alive and somehow more real in feeling than the erotic magazine images manipulated by Bellmer’s contemporaries in the Surrealist movement. He made only a few prints at this remarkably large size, hand-coloring them and mounting them to stretchers as if they were paintings; quite improbably, some of these works were exhibited during World War II, when Bellmer lived in exile in southern France.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Hans Bellmer


The Doll (La Poupée)


Poland (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1935


Gelatin silver print overpainted with white gouache


Image/paper: 65.6 × 64 cm (25 7/8 × 25 1/4 in.); mount: 65.8 × 65.5 cm (25 15/16 × 25 13/16 in.); frame: 81.4 × 80.9 × 3.9 cm (32 1/16 × 31 7/8 × 1 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by an anonymous donor; through prior purchase with Special Photography Acquisition Fund; through prior gifts of Boardroom, Inc., David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg, Sherry and Alan Koppel, the Sandor Family Collection in honor of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Robert Wayne, Simon Levin, Michael and Allison Delman, Charles Levin, and Peter and Suzann Matthews; purchased with funds provided of Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross

Reference Number



© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions