Skip to content

Doll Trying a Headstand, 1931

Leopold Museum,
Black chalk on tracing linen
49.7×34.5 cm


  • Rudolf Wacker

    (Bregenz 1893–1939 Bregenz)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Harmless and innocuous though it looks, the motif is deceptive. In his dense charcoal drawing Doll Trying a Headstand of 1931, the Bregenz-born painter and drawing artist Rudolf Wacker (1893–1939) makes the ambivalence of our perception visible. Just like that, the imago of an infant with cute proportions becomes a projection surface of erotic desire, and we as viewers find ourselves in the position of voyeurs. Seemingly coincidental but openly shown, the exposure of the jointed doll turns into an unpleasantly transgressive experience. The artist relentlessly explores inner psychological states, his own desires and obsessions. Wacker owned a collection of dolls. He was fascinated by the tension between lifelikeness and lifelessness, by their symbolism and their capability to act as a counterpart that evokes emotions and seemingly embodies feelings. In Wacker’s work, dolls become metaphors, bearers of meaning of a world that presents itself to us in its ambiguity.

Object data

  • Rudolf Wacker
Doll Trying a Headstand
Art movement
Graphic work
Black chalk on tracing linen
49.7×34.5 cm
Monogrammed and dated lower right: (19)31
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 2264
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Leopold Museum Wien. Österreichische Kunst des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, hrsg. von Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, München u.a. 2008.
  • Zwischen den Kriegen. Österreichische Künstler 1918–1938, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold, Wien 2007 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 21.09.2007-28.01.2008).

If you have further information on this object, please contact us.


Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

For provenance related information, please contact us.