The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

Oskar Kokoschka’s creepy doll girlfriend

Oskar Kokoschka’s ‘Alma Doll as Venus’, made by Hermine Moos in 1919.

These photographs depict the creepy doll girlfriend of Austrian expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka, which was made for him by avant-garde doll-maker Hermine Moos in 1919. Moos made the life-sized doll from swan skin with the feathers still attached, sewn over bags of sawdust.

Kokoschka commissioned Moos to make an anatomically-correct doll that resembled his ex-girlfriend Alma Mahler — widow of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. ⁣If you are pure of heart and thought this was somehow sweet instead of pervy, please allow me to ruin it for you. Kokoschka gave the doll-maker specific instructions about how to mimic the erotic sensations of Mahler’s body:⁣⁣⁣⁣

“For the first layer (inside) please use fine, curly horsehair; you must buy an old sofa or something similar; have the horsehair disinfected. Then, over that, a layer of pouches stuffed with down, cottonwool for the rump and breasts.”

When the doll arrived at the studio in February 1919, Kokoschka hated it at first. He thought it felt like a shaggy polar bear instead of a sensual woman, and he was disappointed that the texture made it difficult for him to dress the doll up in different outfits.

Nevertheless, Kokoschka made over 80 paintings, drawings and photographs of the doll in various poses around his studio over the following few years. When he was done with it, he smashed a wine bottle over its head, decapitated it, and threw the body into his garden. Totally normal behaviour.⁣

Oskar Kokoschka, ‘Self-Portrait with Doll’, 1921.

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