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.