Untitled
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2006

Reference URL

Untitled about 1935 - 1936
This drawing is dedicated to the young French poetess and Surrealist muse Gisèle Prassinos. The Gallery also owns a photograph of Prassinos reading her poetry to an enraptured group of Surrealists. In 1935 Bellmer made the frontispiece for a book by Prassinos and the following year the fifteen-year-old dedicated several of her writings to Bellmer. This drawing is believed to have been made by Bellmer around this time. White ink on black paper was a favourite medium of the artist. The subject of Bellmer’s drawing is a typically perverse twist on the fairytale idea of a princess being menaced by a dragon. A fearsome dragon emerges from a fireplace like a grasping hand while two female victims are suspended from the ceiling.

Glossary Open

Frontispiece

An illustration at the front of a book, usually opposite the title page.

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.

Muse

The source of an artist's inspiration. The term originates in Greek mythology in which the Muses were the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Frontispiece, Medium/ media, Muse, Surrealism

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 3943
  • Medium Ink and collage on black paper
  • Size 24.00 x 19.00 cm
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995