Have you ever heard of the Black Dahlia? Elizabeth Short was an up and coming actress in the 1940’s.
In 1947, she was found brutally murdered, her body dismembered and mutilated in a way that shook Americans to its core.
What’s that got to do with art? Well, I’m about to tell you!
People believe there is a connection between Elizabeth Short, artist, physician George Hodel and surrealism art.
I must warn you. This story is a strange one but I think it is certainly worth sharing.
George Hodel was a prominent doctor and socialite in Los Angeles. Despite his status, his reputation was questionable.
His secretary dies from an alleged drug overdose. Rumor has it, she was actually murdered because she had threatened to expose Hodel’s illegal abortion clinic.
A few short years later, his daughter made allegations that he raped and impregnated her. The defense utilized Freud’s stance on hysteria to get him acquitted.
As if all of that death and trauma wasn’t enough, he was also believed to be responsible for the death of Black Dahlia.
George Hodel admired and collected surrealist art. He was also very connected with the most prominent surrealist artists of the times.
Surrealist artists saw and depicted women as their muse. Hodel was an aspiring artist but was rejected, time and again, for being emotionless.
All of this definitely makes one question his stability. But, as if all of the previous stuff isn’t enough, I am not finished.
Hodel wanted to reproduce the art that he considered revolutionary and that was the art of the unconscious mind often celebrated by the surrealists.
What intrigues me is that Hodel is how he became a suspect in the Black Dahlia murder case. Hodel was never charged with the crime and it wasn’t until after he passed in 1999 that his name became widely connected with this murder.
Steve Hodel, George’s son, was a retired Los Angeles police detective. Ironic that a potential serial killer’s son was a police officer.
He became suspicious when he went through his father’s belongings after his death. He found photographs of the Black Dahlia.
After all, it was the late Robin Williams who said, “Nobody takes a picture of something they want to forget.”
This picture intrigued Steve Hodel and he began investigating.
According to Zodiac Killer Facts, Steve Hodel claimed that his father as responsible for dozens of unsolved murders and was one of the most ‘demented and prolific serial killers in American History’.
The art connection might be a bit of a stretch, but I think it is worth mentioning.
Surrealist art is rooted in misogyny. Surrealist art depicted women as objects of lust and desire.
Women were objectified through sexist clichés and stereotypes.
After all, the entire purpose of surrealist art was to explore the unconscious mind.
His acquittal makes more sense now considering the defense utilized the work of Sigmund Freud.
I would love your input. Comment and let us know your thoughts on Hodel and the death of Black Dahlia.
Do you think surrealist art played any role in her death?