Katowice, Poland 1902 - Paris 1975

La mitrailleuse en état de grâce

The Machine-Gunneress in a State of Grace


construction of wood and metal


Dimensions (HxWxD): 30 78 x 29 34 x 13 58, on wood base: 4 34 x 15 34 x 11 78 in.

Acc. No.: 713.1968

Credit Line: Advisory Committee Fund

Photo credit:


  • 1968, Advisory Committee Fund


  • MoMA's website, April 1, 2013
  • 1968 Hulten
    Pontus Hulten, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, 1968, p. 160
  • 1968 Rubin
    William S. Rubin, Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage, 1968, p. 151
  • 1977 NY MoMA Legg
    Painting and Sculpture in The Museum of Modern Art, with Selected Works on Paper. Catalogue of the Collection, January 1, 1977, Edited by Alicia Legg, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1977, p. 14


  • MoMA's Gallery Label Text, MoMA's website, April 1, 2013:
    Bellmer began creating disturbing dolls in 1933, the year Adolf Hitler assumed power in Germany. Many have interpreted them as acts of political defiance against the Aryan ideals and social norms promoted by the Nazis, whom he openly opposed, and expressions of the personal outrage he felt towards his father, who had joined the Nazi party. Bellmer himself stated, "If the origin of my work is scandalous, it is because for me, the world is a scandal." Made in Berlin one year before the artist left for Paris, where he lived for the better part of the rest of his life, this figure is violently fragmented, its body parts splayed and truncated and its scale distorted. Connected mechanically by ball joints, its appendages offer endless perverse recombinations, made all the more unsettling by suggesting the physical traits of both a mature woman and a prepubescent girl.