Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited and with foreword by Udo Kittelmann, Claudia Dichter. Text by Lee Kogan.
When the freelance photographer and graphic designer Morton Bartlett (1909-1992) died at the age of 83, his relatives found 15 chests among his possessions. Each chest contained a half-life-size doll and its accessories: 12 girls and three boys, a wardrobe of hand-sewn clothes, black-and-white photographs of each doll as well as countless studies and archival materials. Bartlett began designing these dolls in the mid-1930s, studying anatomy books and histories of costume, and learning to sew and mold with clay to make them as true to life as possible. Each doll entailed a huge amount of labor, taking up to a year to complete; Bartlett created costumes and wigs for each one and then staged them in lifelike scenarios and photographed them, documenting a family he had never had and creating a body of work that would remain unexhibited during his lifetime. The third installment in the Bahnhof Museum’s series on outsider artists, this volume examines Bartlett’s extraordinary lifelong obsession.