The Art Doll that Inspired a Family of Artists

Andy and Becky Ourant have been working hard on their programs for the June Virtual Doll Convention, and I am excited to share with you one of the dolls they will be showing us in a couple of weeks. It melds two things I have long admired. Wyeth paintings and Munich Art Dolls.

When a special Wyeth Exhibition came to Denver many years ago, I will never forget the feeling I had standing in front of this painting. “The Islander” by Jamie Wyeth. The painting had the thickest impasto I had ever seen, and I stood there for at least 10 minutes. I was an instant super-fan of this talented family - so you can imagine my excitement when I received the email from Becky below.

The Islander Wyeth.jpg

Message from Andy and Becky Ourant about their program:

This Munich Art Doll has a very special provenance. Renowned late 19th and early 20th Century American illustrator N.C. Wyeth purchased this Munich Art doll for his young family when it was new.

The Wyeth family is full of talented artists and two of N.C. Wyeth's children are known to have included this doll in paintings. Featured in this posting is a photo of this Munich Art doll and a watercolor painted by Ann Wyeth McCoy. The other known painting is a 1982 tempera painting by Andrew Wyeth titled “Ann Wyeth.” If you are interested in seeing the Andrew Wyeth painting “Ann Wyeth” which includes this Munich Art Doll, it is illustrated in the Andrew Wyeth biography “A Secret Life,” page 33, by Richard Meryman.

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In the early 20th Century, it makes perfect sense that an artist would encourage his children to play with this new "natural" style doll. Ann Wyeth McCoy grew up to be an artist, musician, and doll collector and kept this doll all her life. When she passed away in 2005, family friend and doll collector/dealer Richard Wright purchased many dolls from her collection. Ann’s Daughter, Ann B. McCoy, gifted Richard the watercolor her mother painted of her doll. We were fortunate to be able to buy the doll from Richard and when he passed away in 2009, his partner Glenn Stevens gave us the painting. Andy and I are honored to own a doll with such a rich American history.

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Please join us at the Virtual Doll Convention to learn more about the fascinating dolls of the German Art Doll Reform.

- Andy and Becky Ourant

Thank you SO much to Andy and Becky Ourant for this exciting program in the works - exclusive to the June ‘Art of the Doll’ Virtual Doll Convention.