Coveted French bisque dolls from the Golden Age of European production the 1870s/1880s will lead a grand parade of dolls in Morphys 500-lot auction on Saturday, April 27. Within the grouping are more than 100 dolls that stand 28 inches or taller, putting them in a category that enjoys its own special following.
Morphys doll consultant, Jan Foulke, explained that the last quarter of the 19th century is when French doll designers created their most exquisite productions. An example is the sales top-estimated lot, a circa-1880, 20-inch H doll by Halopeau. You just cant find H dolls theyre among the rarest of all French bebes, said Foulke. Morphys auctioned one in 2008, but this is the first one that has come to auction since then.
The H doll in Morphys April 27 sale has a classic French look, with closed mouth and threaded blue paperweight eyes with outlined irises. It is dressed in a pink silk and lace dress appropriate to its period of production. Foulke said the doll came directly from an American private collection. It is expected to make $40,000-$60,000 at auction.
Another important doll in Morphys sale is a 36-inch A.T. (Andre Thuillier) French bebe with large blue paperweight eyes and a light brown human-hair wig in long curls. It is dressed in an antique linen dress and wears a vintage straw hat. This is a grand size for a doll. It is quite likely that this doll was made for display at a trade exhibition. In the latter 19th century, French dollmakers took the approach that dolls were legitimate works of art. They would make them in an especially large size and dress them in very fancy outfits to show off at trade exhibitions, Foulke explained.
The A.T. doll, estimated at $30,000-$50,000, came from an Ohio collection that was built over a 40- to 50-year period. It is absolutely fresh to the market. When we removed this and other dolls in the same collection from their storage boxes, we found newspapers dated from the 1950s, Foulke remarked.
From the same Ohio collection, Morphys will offer four long-face (triste) Jumeau dolls, five Gaultier bebes, four very large F.G. (Gaultier) fashion dolls, and four Bru dolls, including a 28in Bru Jne with Chevrot-style kid body and original Bru label. Featuring deep brown paperweight eyes and mauve eyeshadow, the Bru Jne is estimated at $25,000-$35,000. Foulke commented that the consignment of a Bru doll is always pleasing, but to have four in one sale is simply outstanding.
Nine French fashion dolls from various collections will be offered, including a Barrois 18-inch man with bisque head, est. $2,000-$3,000. Additionally, bidders can expect to see an array of other exceptional French dolls by Steiner, Jumeau, R.D., E.D. and Paris Bebe.
German characters include a stunning Simon & Halbig 1279 girl doll with beautifully molded, shaded and slanted eyebrows. The 35-inch doll also displays special shading strokes to the lower lip and wears an antique human-hair wig. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.
Among the K*R German characters entered in the sale are a 117, 114, and Simon & Halbig 1129 Oriental girl, 21 inches and dressed in a red silk kimono. The delicately featured Asian beauty has an Oriental tinted complexion, and very dark eyes and hair. It is expected to realize $1,500-$2,000.
A selection of perennially popular googlies includes a 12-inch J.D.K. (Kestner) 221 with large, round, side-glancing eyes and watermelon mouth, est. $2,500-$3,500. A 10-inch A.M. (Armand Marseilles) 241 follows with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
Other highlights include a 1959 No. 1 Barbie Doll with blond hair and striped swimsuit, boxed, est. $4,000-$6,000; two 18th-century English Queen Anne dolls, and several very nice, boxed Madame Alexander Susie-Q cloth dolls. Rounding out the sale are vinyl and composition Shirley Temple dolls and a 1923 Campbell Kid girl with original box.
Morphys April 27, 2013 Premier Doll Auction will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. All dolls are available to preview now during regular business hours at Morphys gallery, or on auction day from 8-10 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Artfact.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com
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