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.
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.
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.
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.