Morton Bartlett

Secret Universe 3

When Morton Bartlett died at the age of 83 his relatives found 15 chests containing half-life-size dolls and accessories: twelve girls and three boys, self-sewn clothes, black-and-white photographs of the dolls as well as countless studies and archive material. Bartlett began designing these dolls, as true to nature as possible, in the mid-1930s.

He studied anatomy books and the history of costume, learned to sew and to mould with clay. Each figure took up to one year to create. Bartlett designed various costumes and made wigs for each of his dolls and then staged them in life-like situations and photographed them.

All of this work was created for purely private purposes and was never shown during his lifetime. The dolls, approximately 200 black and white photographs, drawings, colour slides and costumes were first discovered in 1993. This publication accompanies the first solo exhibition of work by Morton Bartlett in a German museum.

English, French and German text.

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