Modern Design /03 October 2004


Marilyn Neuhart

group of eight dolls
USA, c. 1961
cotton fabric, embroidery, yarn
9½ w × 4 d × 11½ h in (24 × 10 × 29 cm)

Marilyn Neuhart recounts the history of the dolls as such; "I began making the dolls around 1957 for friends and relatives and for a few shops in Los Angeles...After Ray Eames gave [Alexander Girard] a doll for Christmas in 1959, he asked if I would be able to make them in quantity. I agreed to make several as a test and over the next few years he ordered them in lots of fifty to sixty. I designed and made them and sent them off to Santa Fe. I made whatever I felt like making (nineteen different types of dolls) and he always took everything I sent him."

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,600

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Marilyn Neuhart

Marilyn Neuhart was born in Long Beach, California. She attended the Long Beach City College and the University of California, Los Angeles, later teaching design at UCLA. In the summer of 1957, Marilyn married John Neuhart, a graphic designer. That same year John was hired to be a freelance designer in the Eames office, and the couple founded their printing company, The Hand Press. While John was working as a freelancer for the Eames, Marilyn began sewing dolls, which were inspired by “Medieval and Renaissance embroidery.” Marilyn stated that when she “became a full-time freelance graphic designer,” she “took up [her] needle in earnest” and began to create. 

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