Thursday, July 20, 2006
Today, I noticed a number of truly spectacular dolls created by Dorothy Heizer are being auctioned on Ebay.
"Dorothy Heizer Cloth Doll, Bonnie Prince Charlie, 1952, from a portrait, light blue silk coat with gold cord trim, Royal Stuart kilt and tartan, velvet sporran, holding blue hat, ht. 10 3/4 in.
Born in 1881 in Philadelphia, Dorothy Heizer attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she studied art, portraiture, and sculpture. In the early 1920s, while raising her young family in Essex Fells, New Jersey, she began making dolls. In this endeavor, all the elements of her formal art training were called into play. Her process included the development of a copper wire skeletal armature to enable posing of the body. This form was padded and covered in a fine crepe, as was the head. Her placement of the neck and head forward of the shoulders was innovative and gave an accurate human presentation. Her fine shaping and needle-sculpting of the features created unique portraits which were complemented by her delicate painting of the facial features with watercolors. All of these artistic elements received her unparalleled attention to detail.
Her subjects were varied and included historical personages, royalty, or subjects taken from notable paintings, such as Gainsborough's "Blue Boy". A fine record of her work was maintained by the family, and is recorded in Helen Bullard's 1972 publication, "Dorothy Heizer, The Artist and her Dolls". Heizer's dollmaking spanned four decades. In 1962, recognized as a legendary doll-maker, she became a charter member of NIADA, the National Institute of American Doll Artists. The dolls offered here are from the Wells family collection, garnered through the 1940s and 1950s, and noted by Bullard as one of the largest privately held collections."