15 February 2009

The National Museum - Madame de Galéa + a Jumeau Doll


If you were a doll collector, you'd be drooling looking at this photograph.

In 1870, Paris counted sixty-nine doll manufacturers, among whom were Seiner, Rohmer, Clement, Bru and Pierre Francois Jumeau. This is a Jumeau doll. Note the painted eye brows and the pierced ears. (Apologies for the mark on the photograph - actually on the glass of the cabinet, I believe).

On the left, you see a portrait of Madame Madeleine de Galéa (1874 - 1956) by Auguste Renoir, painted in 1915. She always dressed in flimsy materials like this, tulle and muslin.

She was born on the Island of Reunion and lived there until she moved to Paris at the age of 18, to settle with her mother. Soon after her wedding to the diplomat Edouard de Galéa, she started to show interest in art but it wasn't until she was an early widow did she dedicated herself to her passion as a collector. She loved the period of Napolean III and incessantly searched for objects and furnishings from this era. She had an ample collection of tin soldiers and automatons, which were stylish at the time and an attraction to the world of fashion further inspired a vast collection of china dolls as well.

Madame de Galéa completed her doll collection with scaled miniature furniture and decorative objects of the period. After a few years she extended her interest to automatons and soon her villa was no longer large enough to house her collection and so she acquired the house next door. Her greatest pleasure was to invite guests to take tea in her town house and then introduce them into the strange magic world of the neighbouring house.

Following her demise, Madame de Galea's grandson donated the majority of her treasurers to museums. He gave to the Louvre in Paris, the bedroom of the Duchess de Berry, and numerous dresses went to the Galliera Fashion and Costume Museum.

The remaining collection of dolls and automatons, which is massive, was given to Prince Rainier of Monaco and they found a permanent home in 1972 at the Villa Sauber, now known as the National Museum.

Tomorrow - the automatons.

6 comments:

brattcat said...

My aunt would love this series...she's a doll collector and lecturer, though not on Jumeaus.

Birdman said...

Enjoy visiting your site, always something interesting to learn.

Kate said...

I wish that my sister had internet (can you believe that someone in this age is without it?) because she has an enormous collection of dolls; shelves full of them, hundreds of dolls. I'd love to be able to send her to your blog to see this one, but, alas...My grandkids refuse to sleep overnite at her house because they find the number of dolls pretty "creepy." It is difficult to relax with all those figures in the room with you!

Babooshka said...

Oh No dolls. I'm not a doll or a clown person. They terrify me.

Anonymous said...

terrified?? of dolls?? haven't quite figured that one out, yet! but not to worr--it can seem pretty crowded with too many of those hanging around. Although one or two is nice decorations. but it's easy to sympathize with those whom aren't comfortable with a ton of them around. All thaaat dusting?? eek!!! tee hee. knew someone whom was a doll collector of modern dolls and quite honestly it was a little overstuffed at their place. but, girls are entitled to their collections, so if your a doll affectionado well that's cool!!! Was Ranier related to the person whom gave all these dolls to Ranier??? Or was it just for love of public interest??

children must be mesmerized by such beautiful dolls all around!!! Was the woman in the portrait related to any of the royals in Europe??

Marie-Noyale said...

Would have loved to visit the place with Madame de Galea after a nice cup of tea!!!

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