EL BESO (Klimt) Lovers and Husbands
Dr. Paul Kammerer
1879 - 1901
1901 - 1911
1911 - 1919
1919 - 1938
1938 - 1945
1945 - 1964
In July I9I8 Oskar Kokoschka ordered a life-size doll from the Munich doll-maker Hermine Moos as a substitute for his lost love. It was to be made to look exactly like Alma Mahler.
On July 22 he already returned a model of the head, having checked it and made suggestions as to how the work should proceed. "If you are able to carry out this task as I would wish, to deceive me with such magic that when I see it and touch it imagine that I have the woman of my dreams in front of me, then dear Fräulein Moos, I will be eternally indebted to your skills of invention and your womanly sensitivity as you may already have deduced from the discussion we had."
left: Kokoschka's letter to Hermine Moos
right: Study for "Woman in blue" (1919)
left: "Devotion" (1918)
right: Hermine Moos with the puppet
Bonnie Roos - Oskar Kokoschka's Sex Toy: The Women and the Doll Who Conceived the Artist - Modernism/modernity 12:2 Modernism/modernity 12.2 (2005) 291-309 Oskar Kokoschka's Sex Toy: The Women and the Doll Who Conceived the Artist Bonnie Roos How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies? —William Butler Yeats, "Leda and the Swan" (1923) Upon returning home from World War I, Oskar Kokoschka found that his lover, Alma Mahler, had married another man. In response, he commissioned the creation of a life-size doll to match Mahler's exact proportions. Kokoschka provoked rumor and scandal as he escorted his doll to the opera, held parties in its honor, and hired a maid to dress and service it. This provocative public performance inspired rampant speculation about what else, exactly, Kokoschka did with the doll. The doll met its "unnatural" demise when one of Kokoschka's parties got out of hand. Police questioned Kokoschka in the morning about a murder; a beheaded and bloody body was reportedly seen outside his home. Evidently it was the naked, wine-splattered doll, which had somehow lost its head during the revelries of the previous evening. This was the story that Kokoschka and his critics, both then and now, loved to tell, embellishing racy details, speaking to fetishism, sex dolls, pranks, and occasional misogyny. ...