What are Sasha Dolls?
Sasha dolls were created by the
late Sasha Morgenthaler (1893 - 1975), a Swiss artist and artisan. She
was also a humanitarian and a keen observer of all the world's
children. Her vision was to create dolls that represented and reflected
the spirit of children of all races and cultures during their age of
protégé of Paul Klee and a contemporary of Karl Geiser, Sasha had
formal schooling in painting and sculpture, married the painter Ernst
Morgenthaler, and was active in European artistic and social movements.
Beginning in the 1940s until her death in 1975, Sasha created
one-of-a-kind 20" cloth, gypsum, and plastic dolls in her studio. She
travelled the world extensively, studying children of all racial,
cultural, and economic groups to portray in her dolls. These dolls are
considered museum-quality works of art, created by an artist who turned
to doll-making to portray her vision. During her lifetime, Sasha's
dolls were sold from her studio and through the Heimatwerk shops in
Switzerland. In the USA, Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago
exhibited and sold her dolls.
But the dolls Sasha created for children to play
with, were too expensive for most families. Her dream was to make an
inexpensive play doll that would have universal appeal for all
children. Her dream came true in the mid 1960s when she developed the
design for the 16" serie play-dolls, manufactured in Germany and
England, that became so popular around the world during the 1960s -
1980s. These serie dolls possess some unique features: they have
beautifully stylized body parts that are in quarter scale,
asymmetrical, and in realistic proportion, like real humans. They are
perfectly balanced and can assume many poses without a doll stand -
they can even stand on their heads! Their skin colorings are blends of
all skin colorings, to represent all the children of the world, and
they have individually hand painted faces with receptive expressions,
each one ready to reflect whatever mood its child will give it.
There have been three productions
of serie Sasha dolls, made by two different companies.
Götz-Puppenfabrik GmbH of Rödental, Germany made Sasha dolls from 1965
- 1970, and again from 1995 - 2001. Frido/Trendon/Sasha Dolls
Ltd of Stockport, England made Sasha dolls from 1966 - 1986. The dolls
from the three productions have similar vinyl bodies and heads, with
rooted nylon hair and painted eyes and lips, but differ in style and
face painting. The German Sashas from both productions are marked on
their backs and necks with the Sasha logo, while the English dolls are
unmarked. All Sasha dolls wear wrist tags on their right wrists - a
string with a little medallion bearing the Sasha logo. The early German
Sashas are more plentiful in Europe than in America, while the reverse
is true for the English dolls. Dolls from the most recent German
production can be found everywhere.
In the past, Sasha's one-of-a-kind
studio original dolls from her own personal collection were housed at
the Sasha Morgenthaler Puppenmuseum, in the Bärengasse Museum in
Zurich, Switzerland. Now, the Sasha collection has been closed, and is
being exhibited from time to time at different venues, until a new
permanent location can be found for the collection. The book Sasha
Puppen / Sasha Dolls by Stefan Biffiger (see just below)
pictures the dolls that were housed at the Puppenmuseum, and also
contains essays about her life and work.
time three new, very comprehensive full color books about Sasha dolls
have been published. There are also older, out of print books you can
find on the secondary market. Click
here for Books.
who want to find more pictures and information about Sasha dolls, a
bibliography of articles published in American magazines is provided
for your own research. Many of these magazines can be found for sale on
eBay. Click here for the