When Grandpa Was A Boy, Were There Any Dinosaurs?

Kokoschka’s Doll

Oskar Kokoschka, from a 1919 print by Hugo Erfurth

1918: The painter Oskar Kokoschka commissioned a Munich doll-maker to create a life-size effigy of his former lover Alma Mahler, so that “the woman of my dreams will seem to come alive to my eyes and touch”.

Kokoschka bombarded the doll-maker, Hermine Moos, with questions and instructions. “Will she be able to open her mouth? Does she have teeth and a tongue?” he asked. The doll should have feet like a dancer, he said, and hands like a “cultivated Russian lady”; her skin should be of “gossamer silk or the very finest linen” and “peachlike in its feel”.

The finished article, inevitably, failed to live up to the fantasy. Kokoschka complained to Moos that the arms and legs dangled “like stockings filled with flour”, the knees appeared to be “afflicted with elephantiasis” and the skin resembled “a polar-bear pelt”.

Source: Susanne Keegan, The Eye of God: A Life of Oskar Kokoschka (1999), chap. 7

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