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 Best friends

Exhibition-Sale January 27 - March 25, 2017

Soft Toys from the Twenties to the Thirties

The exhibit

This new exhibition-sale at the museum gathers private collections of soft toys made during the Twenties and the Thirties.

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poupées Marazzi, Margot, Messina Vat, ours Chiltern
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Peluches Schuco et Chiltern, poupée Margot

Cloth dolls have existed for a long time but their material being very fragile, items dating before 1900 are very rare.The trend for cloth dolls developed in Europe at the beginning of the XX century when people realized that traditional dolls, with bisque head and articulated wood and composition body, did not entirely fit the needs of the children and didn’t foster playing as much as the cloth doll that was softer, lighter, easier to manipulate and, most of all, unbreakable and harmless.

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Women like Margarete Steiff in Germany, Elena König Scavini in Italy, Norah Wellings in England stood out in the cloth doll business and began making handcraft dolls for their own children before launching industrial productions to respond to the increasing demand.

The main European countries quickly produced their own ‘artistic dolls’, as they were called at that time. These perfect Art Deco incarnations were popular between the two World Wars. The pressed felt faces were painted by hand, outfits reflected the becoming fashion of the Twenties, colors were bright and fresh and attractive also for the adult audience who used them to decorate their trendy interiors.

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Oliver Twist par Alma
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Ronnaug Petterssen
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Norah Wellings

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poupées catalanes
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At that same period, soft animals also became increasingly popular. Stuffed felt or cloth animals first appeared on the market and competed with the stiffer real fur covered animals. As soon as 1903, Magarete Steiff, a German artist, followed the impulse coming from the US by creating the first European teddy bear that holds his name from the American president Theodore Roosevelt. Since then, the mohair teddy bears shared the toy scene with the dolls.

Like Lenci that stood as leader for the cloth doll makers, Steiff leaded the European soft toys producers. These two major companies emulated their competitors and their expertise still inspires, today, the contemporary makers, what explains that collectors still recognize the timeless beauty of their creations.

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Poupée italienne Fiaba (?), ours Schuco
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Poupées Margot, ours Hermann
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poupées Margot et Messina Vat, ours Chiltern

200 items with values ranging from ten to several hundred euros, will be presented on this occasion. An exhibit-sale for children and adults where visitors can discover these toys of the past and even get an opportunity to acquire the plaything of their dreams!

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Some of these item are available on our online shop:

Activities for adults and children

GUIDED TOURS of the museum and the exhibit - February 2, 2017, 2pm

with Samy Odin, director and founder of the museum
15€ - reservation required

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SEMINARS by Samy Odin

> The European production of dolls between the Two World Wars - February 23, 2017, 2pm
> The European production of cloth animals between the Two World Wars - March 16, 2017, 2pm
15€ - reservation required

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public identification sessions by Samy Odin - 15€/person
The best way to know everything about the brand, period, material of your favorite soft toys (no value given). NB : the doll and soft toys doctor will be there on identification days.
> Soft animal identification - March 4, 2017, 2pm
> Cloth doll identification - March 25, 2017, 2pm

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BOOKS SIGNING SESSION - February 11, 2017 from 2 to 6pm
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’Boules de poils’ by Samy Odin
’Les ours et peluches FADAP’ by Eric Petit

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Every Wednesday at 2.30pm - 14€ (museum included) - reservation required
Children from 5 years old make their own soft rabbit : stuffing, drawing plus a pinch of love and the little rabbit will turn into a sweet softy.…

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ACTIVITY KIT ’My worry doll’ ’My paper doll’ - On site or to take away

Every day under parents supervision - 10€ or 12€…


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mail : 28 rue Beaubourg

01 42 72 73 11

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closed on Sunday, Monday and bank holidays

Admission prices

Adult : 8 €
Student (12-25 years old) : 6 €
Unemployed : 6 €
Senior (+de 65 years old) : 6 €
Child (3-11 years old) : 4 €
Handicapped : 4 €

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