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Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Early 20th C Continued; Character and Realism Photo Study

After the elaborate chinas, Parians, fashion ladies and dolly faced babies of the 19th century, the 20th century seemed to be all about realism and characterization.  The idealized Victorian image of the child slowly gave way to dolls that cried, pouted, made faces, moved, etc.

Rare prehistoric goddess figure with face and corn row hair. About 25,000 B.C.. Pub. Domain Image.

Renoir; Mother with 2 girls, note Doll. Mid 19th c. Public Domain Image.

This shift back and forth to realism is a trend in all the arts.  Broadly speaking, note the stylistic art of the Egyptians, which influenced Greece, especially in the Kouros figures of young boys in Delphi, gave way to classical, anatomically perfect statues of Greece's Golden Age, some of which we see in The Elgin Marbles.  Then, placidity and symmetry gave way during the Hellenistic period, and we have statues like Laocoon and his sons being devoured by gigantic, true to life, snakes!

Laocoon Group; Hellenistic Era. Public Domain

Ancient Doll, bone, probably Roman, 1st c. AD?  Public Domain image.

Periods of idealized art gave way to Impressionism, and Renoir, Degas, and others now painted in a different style, subjects like jockeys, common people, and race horses.  Their style gave way to abstraction and then to surrealism and super-realism, like Chuck Close's, Duane Hanson's, and George Segal's work.

One Version of "Baby" courtesy my friend, artist Mikki Brantley

A. Marque, Stein am Rhein Auction, shattered a record at $300,000. Courtesy, Theriault's

Dolls that move, had glass eyes, were babies, digested food, wet, changed faces, and were "sad" like Jumeau Triste, were all attempts at realism and characterization in doll making, so were wax dolls, "mamma dolls", and wax works.

Pensive Lenci type, Antique Doll Collector

Lincoln Animatronic.  Public Domain Image.

By the 20th century, such trends shifted back and form in all the arts, including doll making.  This is the age of Albert Marque, sculptor as well as doll maker, and of Kathe Kruse, Grace Storey Putnam, Helen Jensen, and other artists who took their turns at making realistic dolls.

Wax, Belle Epoque, Antique Doll Collector Magazine

K8R 108, one of a Kind, early 20th c. Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Rare German Character, Among Friends Auction Theriault's, Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Though a 19th c doll, albeit a late one, the Jumeau 201 Theriault's auctioned last year was an early character doll, an experiment for what was to come.  The SFBJ 236 "Laughing Jumeau," "Baby" the one of a kind K*R 108 are other stellar examples.

Jumeau 201 auctioned by Theriault's, also record breaking.  Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Today, "reborn' babies and portrait dolls abound, each more elaborate than the other, and we have robots that seem to breathe, and push the envelope of what is alive even more than their 18th century ancestors did.

If anything, character dolls became popular during the early 20th c.

Rare Portrait Huret, once in Merritt Doll Museum.  Public Domain

The Little Dance, by Degas.  He used a doll as a model.  Public Domain Image

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