Apr 17 2014

An Enduring Legacy

In 2008, Annette Himstedt closed her manufactory after 23 years of creating the world’s finest dolls. In her words, “I have spent nearly a quarter of a century in my manufactory and worked there with passion, much discipline and a lot of idealism.” But with the closing of her manufactory, the love and passion of Himstedt collectors worldwide has not faded. Here are a few highlights from her porcelain editions through the years.

Bastian Artist's Proof 1 of 1

Bastian is tuly a milestone in the world of dollmaking.


Looking back at Annette’s dollmaking career is like getting a glimpse of a piece of doll history. Bastian is a porcelain Artist’s Proof from 1985 and served as a blueprint for Annette’s very first vinyl collection called Barefoot Children created in 1986. Looking at the sculpting prowess, one could instantly see the promise that lied ahead for this amazing artist. She would look back on these dolls and say “These are the porcelain originals that were the blueprints for my first ever vinyl collection: the Barefoot Children. These dolls have written history.”

Striving for her creations to reach a level of perfection previously unseen in the doll world, Annette used only the finest materials. Annette Himstedt created her first dolls with porcelain and it remained her material of choice throughout her career. She always said that porcelain enabled her to achieve the nuances of realism that captured the character and personalities of her subjects. She also valued the permanence of porcelain as it would hold its color and remain true, possibly for centuries. In addition to the porcelain, other features, like real hair wigs and one-of-a-kind, hand-blown glass eyes were used in creating this amazing doll that would serve as a glimpse of her future greatness.


Jerina by Annette Himstedt

A beautiful porcelain beauty from Annette's 1996 collection

In 1996 as Annete had tended throughout her career, she created a series of doll from different nationalities and ethnicities. Jerina was a beautiful Hungarian girl measuring 21 inches. She has a wig made of real hair and one-of-a-kind, hand-blown glass eyes. Annette has even hand-painted a dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose. Her outfit, which was handmade by Annette is made of hand-dyed silks. She even includes a handmade porcelain bench and a copper name plate.

Jerina is a truly stunning edition featuring new jointing and more advancements that Annette had learned through her years of doll creation. This being one of Annette’s artist proofs, it holds a special significance as Annette reflected back on her dollmaking career. Speaking of her porcelain artist proofs she said “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.”

Moving on to 2001, Annette created an incredible trio of porcelain princesses named Sonne, Mond, and Stern, which is German for Sun, Moon and Star. Stern is a stunning 23.625 inches tall and made of porcelain. She has a hand-painted face, features mouth-blown glass eyes and a real hair wig complete with a porcelain star crown and a lovely veil.

Star Stern by Annette Himstedt

Stern is an amazing work of art from head to toe


Stern’s outfit is truly a treasure. The dress is made of hand-dyed metallic silk fabric that is composed of 80 percent metal. This gives the dress an amazing shimmering quality that mimics the twinkling of stars in the night sky.

The doll and outfit as a whole combine to create the perfect representation of the theme that she is meant to reflect. Annette discussed the symbolism and meaning behind this incredible edition, “What a wonderful theme this was to carry on for me to let my imagination run free. I played with symbolism, colors and fabrics. I’m happy about how much Sun, Moon and Star remind me of what I wanted them to represent. You don’t just have to look at their crowns to see who they are.”

This amazing edition truly blurs the line between doll and art. And being an artist proof just adds to the glamour of this incredible achievement in dollmaking.

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