Nancy's Paris Blog
Hi, I'm Nancy Burke and welcome to my blog. I've lived in France on the outskirts of Paris for over 20 years with my husband, Rob, and a little more recently, our black cat Cassie. My friends tell me that I know more about Paris than most Parisians. I don't know about that but I do try to make the most of living in one of the world's greatest centers of culture, art and architecture. Most weekdays I'm out and about visiting museums, taking tours, or just experiencing French life. I was a long time director of the Friday Tour Group and I'm still an active member.
08 February 2018
“Black Dolls – La Collection Deborah Neff ”
La Maison Rouge has the honor of exhibiting for the first time outside of the United States Deborah Neff’s incredible collection dating from 1850 to 1940. The almost 200 handcrafted black dolls and 80 vintage photographs of black and white American children reflect what childhood was like especially for black Americans at that time. The dolls were made by African American women for their own children or the children they cared for. They were fashioned using a variety of materials such as cloth, wood and leather, creating their beauty and diversity with a wide range of looks and ages. In the 19th and 20th centuries, society moved from slavery to segregation in which racism was interwoven. Not until the 1960’s during the Civil Rights movement is the interest in collecting black dolls rediscovered giving them artistic value. The photographs reveal the relationship these black dolls had with their black and white playmates. Both the dolls and the photographs are a way of preserving memories of the past. I especially enjoyed looking carefully at the dolls. Some of them are very simple while others are rather elegant. The fabrics used to make the clothing vary greatly. The facial expressions are all different and the eyes may be drawn, painted, embroidered, sewn or carved. Can you find the doll with a cute face on the head made out of a coconut? Also, notice the different shades of “black” used for skin color. Be sure not to miss the unique and fascinating “topsy-turvy” dolls. What a clever idea! At the end, relax and take time to watch the film.
1. This exhibition runs through 20 May 2018. La Maison Rouge is located at 10 boulevard de la Bastille (12th). It is open daily except Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and until 9:00 PM on Thursday.
2.The informative descriptions throughout the exhibition are in French and English. The film is in English with French subtitles.
3.There are two exhibitions showing at La Maison Rouge. Walk through the first one to get to “Black Dolls.”
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