Nov 12 2013

Dolls Inspiration From Around The World – Annette Himstedt

Afrika Girl Artist's Proof 1 of 1

Afrika Girl is a beautiful porcelain doll from 1992

Throughout her career, Annette Himstedt has always shown her love of ethnic children with her dolls. She has created dolls that represent children from all over the world. Some of her earliest dolls, the acclaimed Barefoot Children series, were originally planned to be used to raise money for UNICEF. For her porcelain dolls, Annette used multiple firings to achieve the skin tones and make sure they were just perfect.

A beautiful example of Annette’s amazing ethnic dolls is Afrika Girl from 1992. No detail was overlooked. The skin tone is absolutely perfect. Annette described the work that went into getting Afrika Girl’s skin tone just right. “To get the coloring right was unbelievably difficult – with every trial the brown paint wouldn’t come out the way I wanted it to. I mixed pigments and painted like a lunatic.” – Annette Himstedt

Afrika Girl features mouth-blown glass eyes and the beadwork for her outfit was handmade by Annette from colored rocailles. This particular edition even comes with its own porcelain base allowing her to stand easily.  When taken in as a whole, this striking edition truly blurs the line between doll and fine art.

 

Shilin by Annette Himstedt

Shilin was an edition from Annette's 2007 Sommer Kinder collection

In addition to Annette’s porcelain Masterpiece editions, she has created a number of ethnic dolls for her Puppen Kinder collections over the years. Shilin was part of the 2007 Sommer Kinder Collection. She is an exquisite doll of Asian decent featuring a real hair black wig and hand painted features. Her outfit was a designed b Annette herself and hand-dyed in soft pastel colors that were the motif of that collection.

Mohan Artist's Proof 2 of 2

Mohan is a young boy from India created in 1993

Annette always did wonderful dolls of Asian heritage. Dating as far back as Makimura in 1988 Annette has exhibited a love for dolls of Asian descent. In 1993 she created Mohan and Mohini. Again, Annette worked diligently to replicate the flesh tones, this time those of children from India. Annette said this about her experience with Mohan and Mohini – “Mohan and Mohini are a beautiful couple. Modeling ethnic dolls gives me the greatest pleasure and it always seems to be a very easy process to me. They never cause me any trouble and they’ve always stayed fondly in my heart. “

For Mohan’s attire, Annette created a a rich outfit from hand-dyed silks. He has a large, elegant, amber bead as the centerpiece of his leather necklace.

Jantje Artist's Proof 2 of 2

Jantje is a lovely African-American porcelain doll from 1999

Annette modeled her 1999 porcelain edition Jantje from a little girl from America. She considered the dolls  she was creating as 3 dimensional portraits. She felt that porcelain enabled her to capture the nuances of realism that came through in a child’s face.  Jantje features a gorgeous wig made of real hair that is decorated with handmade porcelain flowers. These delilcate editions were a labor of love. Annette described the trials of producing these complex editions as toy fairs quickly approached in 1999. “I had to work days and nights to get them done for the shows. It was as though they were jinxed. They kept shattering in the kiln and the toy fairs were creeping closer and closer. It was such an agonizing wait every time, because with each trial we’d only get the results after at least 26 hours. That’s how long one firing process took. I can’t count the times when we ran the huge kiln nearly empty, just to be able to finish individual pieces. Once we fired it up for just a hand-full of tiny blossoms. Anyone would have declared us insane… But I didn’t have a choice – I had to get everything finished on time.”

Annette closed her manufactory in 2008. She gathered all of her Artist’s Proofs to be sent to the U.S. to be made available to collectors. Understandably, it was a very poignant time. “When I last saw all my porcelain children and held them in my hands, it became very clear to me that they possess an unbelievable charm. I got very emotional in the process. It is my wish that you, dear collector, have the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy these special dolls. “  – Annette Himstedt

 


Aug 29 2011

Best Place To Buy An Annette Himstedt Doll

Doll collectors around the world have been buying Annette Himstedt dolls for almost 25 years. Now that Annette no longer makes new collections of her Kinder Puppen dolls, where is the best place to buy your next Himstedt doll? The Toy Shoppe of Richmond, Virginia is a favorite choice among doll collectors and here are ten good reasons why:

  1. Longevity – The Toy Shoppe has been in business in Richmond, Virginia since 1975.
  2. History With Annette – Danny and Barrie, the owners, were the first to bring Annette Himstedt porcelain dolls to the USA.
  3. Selection – Even when dolls were being allocated to stores, The Toy Shoppe had a great selection available. The Toy Shoppe is still offering new Himstedt dolls! When Annette closed her manufactory in Paderborn Germany, she sent many of the dolls that were at the manufactory to The Toy Shoppe. In fact, many of The Toy Shoppe’s Annette Himstedt dolls are still new in box!
  4. Beautiful catalogs – No one creates the beautiful catalogs that The Toy Shoppe does. A great reference or just wonderful to look at and enjoy!
  5. Artist’s ProofsAnnette Himstedt’s Artists Proofs are represented solely by The Toy Shoppe. This is the only place you can get one of these remarkable dolls by Annette Himstedt. You can learn more about what makes an Artist’s Proof special by clicking here.
  6. Respected – Danny and Barrie have been selling fine artists dolls for over three decades. They are often quoted in magazines like Doll Reader and DOLLS. They are also the only retailer to have ever won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jones Publishing. Every other winner has been an artist or manufacturer. Other recipients include R. John Wright, Steiff, Madame Alexander and Helen Kish – each a  giant in the doll or Teddy bear world. This is a very prestigious group to be associated with!
  7. Friendly Staff – The Toy Shoppe staff is both friendly and knows a lot about an Annette Himstedt doll. You can call them toll free at 1 800 447-7995 and they’ll be happy give you the personal attention you need to choose the perfect Himstedt doll for you.
  8. Doll Gallery – The Toy Shoppe has been located in the very same store in Richmond, Virginia for over three decades. It is easy to get to off of the major highways when traveling through Virginia. Every Himstedt collector should stop and see their many Annette Himstedt dolls on display. No one has a better display of Annette Himstedt dolls than The Toy Shoppe!
  9. Website – There is no other web site with the selection of beautiful Annette Himstedt dolls on display as www.TheToyShoppe.com. Lots of beautiful pictures – many they take themselves of the actual doll!
  10. Flexible, AMC Payment Plan – Annette Himstedt dolls are amazing and are priced accordingly. The Toy Shoppe offers interest-free, monthly payment plans that can be customized to suit you. Now everyone can afford there very own Himstedt doll!

With all this going for them, there isn’t any doubt that The Toy Shoppe is the best place to buy your Annette Himstedt doll.


Aug 23 2011

How Annette Himstedt Created A New Realism Movement In Doll Making

German doll srtist Annette Himstedt is the latest in a distinct group of doll artists who defined their era. Over the past 200 years, new materials have been introduced that vastly changed the look and feel and possibilities available in doll making. Modern materials such as porcelain, vinyl, composition and resin had great affect on how we interact with dolls. These mediums affect a doll’s longevity and appearance. The materials also constrain or release an artist’s creativity through their very nature and physical properties. And yet over that same 200 years, there have been very few artistic Movements in doll making or innovative doll artists with the influence of Bru or Jumeau or the Munich Art Dolls of the early 1900s. There has been little “revolution” in dollmaking styles over that time. So when one came along, it was very contagious. This modern day doll revolution was begun by Annette Himstedt in the 1980s.

Before Annette, dolls were classic, simple and straightforward like those of Kathe Kruse. Renowned Swiss artist and dollmaker Sasha Morgenthaler designed her dolls with inexpressive, open looks that allowed them to be more adaptable to imaginative play than if they were forever smiling. Their differences were subtle and these dolls continue to be beloved around the world.

Annette took a different approach and broke many accepted conventions in dollmaking. As explained by Danny and Barrie Shapiro of The Toy Shoppe who first brought her dolls to the USA in 1986:

With her Barefoot Children in 1986, Annette Himstedt established a bold new direction for doll making. Gone was any mannequin-like structure: her dolls were like children at play with bent arms and fingers sculpted in relaxed, natural positions. Annette captured movement in her sculpts with her innovative natural posing. The large scale of her dolls was unique and very engaging. And their shoes, usually an integral part of a doll, were completely gone!

Annette Himstedt Barrie Danny New York Toy Fair

Annette Himstedt with Barrie and Danny at the New York Toy Fair in 2006

Perhaps it was her beginnings in portrait dolls that made Annette so in tune with that essence of childhood in which we all delight. Perhaps her background in fashion moved her to capture mood and expression in her dolls. Whatever the reason behind her drive, she was determined to bring her own artistic doll visions to life and did with amazing success. Her dolls were alive and both collectors and artists were drawn to them. Danny and Barrie of The Toy Shoppe expound:

This dramatic change sparked a renewed interest in dolls and Annette has presented fresh and exciting creations for over two decades! When history reflects on this time, it will surely credit Annette for inspiring artists to new and remarkable levels of creativity in the Realistic Doll Movement of the twentieth century.

In 2008, Annette closed her manufactory in Paderborn, Germany, and an era in contemporary dollmaking came to a sad close. She entrusted her good friends Danny and Barrie to represent her substantial personal collection ans well as the porcelain and vinyl artist proofs which she had accumulated over two decades of dollmaking. You can buy many of Annette Himstedt Puppen Kinder, Kinder aus Porzellan and Artist’s Proofs at The Toy Shoppe.


Aug 5 2011

Annette Himstedt Timeline

This timeline shows a Annette Himstedt’s career in doll making. This is shown originally on The Toy Shoppe’s website:

  • 1980 Annette begins modeling in porcelain, developing the technical expertise which would later bring her great acclaim within the doll world.
  • 1984 Neighborhood children model for a collection of portrait dolls, bringing magazine publicity and notoriety almost overnight.
  • 1984 During a trip to Africa for UNICEF Annette photographs a young girl named Fatou and sculpts her. This is the catalyst for Annette to create a line of vinyl dolls. Fatou, Lisa and Bekus were her first non-porcelain dolls.
  • 1986 Annette settles on Puppen Kinder (Doll Children) and Kinder Aus Porzellan (Porcelain Children) and registers these names as her trademarks. Danny and Barrie from the Toy Shoppe meet Annette at her booth in the Nuremberg Toy Fair where she introduces her Barefoot Children to instant commercial success.
  • 1988 Annette resolves to build her own doll manufactory in Paderborn, Germany.
  • 1986-2000 Signing tours across America and Europe give Annette the chance to meet many collectors.
  • 1990 Annette and her team move into her new doll manufactory. She finally has the scope to develop new techniques and realize them. As many as 80 people will be employed there at one time.
  • 1996 Himstedt Club founded. Member benefits include Undine, a club magazine chronicling Annette’s work. Club Gift is mini version of annual Club Doll.
  • 2002 Every doll in each collection would be a limited edition from this time forward for more exclusivity.
  • 2005 The first World’s Children Summit featuring dolls of varying ethnicity, from Eastern Europe, to the Caribbean to Africa. Such variety was a refreshing change from the often stereotypical selections produced by other designers.
  • 2007 Open Days begun to allow collectors to see up close every stage of the doll making process and meet the artist.
  • 2008 Annette closes her manufactory, ending an unparalleled 23-year creative era. Demand for her past editions increases as production ends.

Thanks to The Toy Shoppe for allowing us to use their information. You can call them toll free at 1 800 447-7995 if you are interested in Annette Himstedt dolls. Danny and Barrie have had Annette’s dolls since the 1980 and the shoppe offers payment plans that are very easy and convenient (and interest free)!


Aug 4 2011

True or False: Ten Interesting Facts About Annette Himstedt

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist 2008

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist

Annette Himstedt’s dolls were known by doll collectors around the globe but many people don’t know so much about Annette herself and how she became such and influencial and beloved doll artist. Here are some interesting facts about this wonderful doll artist:

10. True or False… Annette Himstedt was a fashion model.

True! She was a fashion model and used this to earn a living while learning the art of doll making.

9. True or FalsePuppen Kinder is the just the German translation for Puppet Children.

False! Annette trademarked the name Puppen Kinder her dolls in 1986. It translates from German as Doll Children.

8. True or False… Annette Himstedt made Sesame Street dolls.

True! When Annette began to learn doll making, she made a little Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street for herself.

7. True or False… Annette was approached by an Arab Sheik to make a portrait doll of his niece.

True! Annette was very well-known for her portrait dolls in the 1980s. So famous was she that a Sheik from the Arab Emirates contacted Annette to create a portrait doll of both his daughter and his niece!

6. True or False… Annette’s first Puppen Kinder doll was based on a real person.

True! Annette based Fatuo on a little girl she met while traveling to Senegal, Africa.

5. True or False… Annette created all of her dolls in Germany.

False! Before she built her doll manufactory in Paderborn, Germany, Annette traveled often to Spain to oversee the work on her vinyl dolls.

4. True or False… Every Puppen Kinder has Annette’s initials or signature engraved on the limbs.

False! Every Puppen Kinder should but in 1991 Annette forgot to engrave Liliane’s and Shireem’s legs.

3. True or False Since 1996, each sewn part and original piece of clothing bear a tag with the name Annette Himstedt.

True! This is one of the ways you can identify original Annette Himstedt dolls and outfits.

2. True or False… Dark skin tones on Annette Himstedt porcelain dolls may require as many as 30 coats.

True! Annette was famous in the doll world for the many subtle variations in her skin tones and went to great lengths to attain the exact tone.

1. True or False… It takes a full day to fire Annette’s porcelain dolls in a kiln.

False! It actually takes more. Annette mentioned that it would take 26 hours to fire a porcelain doll.

Bill's Journey Book by Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World by Annette Himstedt

All of the facts were taken from Annette Himstedt’s book Bill’s Journey Around The World. The 176 page hardbound book is more than just beautiful photos: Annette goes to great lengths to explain her efforts to become a doll artist and the processes by which her dolls are created. Bill’s Journey is available at The Toy Shoppe.


Aug 4 2011

The Book Bill’s Journey – Annette Himstedt In Her Own Words

Bill's Journey Book by Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World by Annette Himstedt

There are many books about doll artists but very few have been created by the artist themselves. This coffee-table book about German doll artist Annette Himstedt is definitely something you will want to leave out and show off. With all of the beautiful photos (many are full page closeups) and the unique and interesting graphic design of the book this book will draw in and captivate anyone who sees it. Oh, and one more very interesting feature… since Annette Himstedt is a German doll artist the book is written in both German AND English. Annette would continue including both languages with her catalogs announcing the new collections.

The book is available at The Toy Shoppe. On their site it states:

She leads us on a wonderful journey and takes us into her studio and factory…

Originally published in 1997, it took four years to create this book with Annette writing the content herself. It was a family project as well since Dierk Himstedt is credited with the “ final Text” and Imke Himstedt is credited with the “Design.” The book was published by Bonifatius GmbH in Paderborn, Germany, the same town where Annette Himstedt’s doll manufactory was located..

Bill’s Journey Around The World is a unique book both in size and content. It is 176 pages, hardbound with a dust jacket that wraps the book in a bright blue coat. The book also features an index in the back showing her Kinder auz Porzellan (porcelain dolls) and her Puppen Kinder (vinyl dolls) up to publication. The book mainly focuses on Annette’s dolls but also includes and Annette Himstedt Autobiography section which chronicles in detail with photos the begining of her career up til the books publishing in 1997.

In 1985 Annette traveled to Senegal Africa for a UNICEF project. They were interested in a line of dolls based on the children of other cultures. Although the line was never produced, the trip had profound effect on Annette and was a huge influence in the diversity of her future dolls.

Bill's Journey Around The World book Annette Himstedt dolls

The photography in Bill's Journey captures Annette Himstedt's dolls at play.

The title of the book becomes apparent as you meet all of the beautiful dolls Annette has based on different countries and elasticities around the world. The photography is stunning as the dolls are placed in very interesting scenes often depicting their origin. You travel with Bill from Japan to China, Nepal, India, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Spain, France, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway,England, Russia, Senegal, Tuscany, Greenland, Corsica, Belgium, Mexico, Kenya, New Zealand, and the USA.

Annette takes us to mythical places as well including  Above the Sea, Land of the Fairies, and Under the Sea. Under the sea features Undine, the incredibly beautiful, life-size porcelain mermaid that was the centerpiece in the foyer of Annette Himstedt’s manufactory.

Bill's Journey Around The World book Undine Annette Himstedt

Bill's Journey Around The World book features beautiful photography including this image of Undine by Annette Himstedt

Annette Himstedt’s artistic integrity and drive always pushed her to excel when creating her dolls. She pushed the limits on this book as well and all in all this is a magnificent, one-of-a-kind book. Turning each page reveals an unexpected and enjoyable feast for the eyes. Although Annette has closed her manufactory, this books remains a wonderful chronicle of her talent and artistry.

As mentioned before, the book Bill’s Journey is available at The Toy Shoppe in Richmond Virginia. They also have a good selection of Annette Himstedt dolls for sale including dolls from Annette’s personal collection as well as Annette Himstedt’s Artist’s Proofs.

 


Jul 28 2011

Announcing AnnetteHimstedtDolls.com

Hi everyone!

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist

Annette Himstedt Doll Artist working on one of her early porcelain dolls.

This is the start of a new website devoted to the beautiful dolls by Annette Himstedt, a German doll artist who recently closed her manufacturing plant in Padeborn Germany and retired from doll making. Her dolls (also known as Himstedt Kinder) are very special and doll collectors everywhere in the world love them. So come back and see what new things we can find to discuss…