"I would die of jealousy if some man were allowed to touch the artificial woman in her nakedness with his hands or glimpse her with his eyes!"

I wonder whether any of you have seen the film Lars and the Real Girl? It was a sweet, chaste sort of film considering its casting of a Real Doll as the female lead, and though I enjoyed it I couldn’t help but spend its entire length being reminded of the altogether less sweet, less chaste, true life corollary of “Oscar and the Alma Doll.”

The synopsis of this tale might go as follows- In 1911 Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka (or as the German press referred to him “der tolle Kokoschka") meets Alma Mahler, the widow of composer Gustav Mahler. A relationship begins consisting mainly of hot sex and expressionist painting. Or “the good life” as it’s sometimes called. Oscar, for his part, falls obsessionally, passionately, possessively hard. Alma... not so much.

By 1913 their relationship is strained-

Quote: “They travelled to Italy together, and on one occasion visited the Naples aquarium. Kokoschka watched an insect sting and paralyse a fish, before devouring it, and at once associated the scene with the woman by his side.” -Edward Lucie-Smith, Lives of the Great 20th Century Artists.

Alma became pregnant and, against Oscar’s wishes, has the child aborted. Oscar is crushed. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he volunteers and serves with the Austrian army. In 1915, while stationed in Russia, Oscar receives a serious injury via unfriendly bayonet. He returns from the front to find Alma has married an old flame, architect Walter Gropius. Oscar is double-crushed. In 1918, underlining military doctor’s previous assessment of him as “mentally unstable,” he reacts to all this heartache the way any good, obsessive, expressionist painter would-

Detailed physical descriptions and full-scale drawing in hand, he commissions the doll-maker Hermine Moos to create a life-sized Alma Mahler doll to her exact, anatomically accurate specifications.

Quote: “Yesterday I sent a life-size drawing of my beloved and I ask you to copy this most carefully and to transform it into reality. Pay special attention to the dimensions of the head and neck, to the ribcage, the rump and the limbs. And take to heart the contours of body, e.g., the line of the neck to the back, the curve of the belly. Please permit my sense of touch to take pleasure in those places where layers of fat or muscle suddenly give way to a sinewy covering of skin. For the first layer (inside) please use fine, curly horsehair; you must buy an old sofa or something similar; have the horsehair disinfected. Then, over that, a layer of pouches stuffed with down, cottonwool for the seat and breasts. The point of all this for me is an experience which I must be able to embrace! Can the mouth be opened? Are there teeth and a tongue inside? I hope so!” -Oscar Kokoschka

Full Story: Oscar and the Alma Doll @ the nonist


Unknown said...

As Flavor Flav would say, "Wooooooooooow."

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