Black Dolls,
Deborah Neff collection
by Nora Philippe


The great majority of the two hundred black dolls in this show were handmade by African-American women in the hundred or more years between 1840 and 1940. Made from fabric and various other materials, these objects are at once plural and unique. Emotional surrogates and personal archives in a world where Black American families were often broken up, they also functioned as images of social and political resistance. Today, they are appreciated as admirable artistic creations in their own right. Research into these objects is in its infancy. This catalogue offers a number of fresh readings and hypotheses, ranging over cultural studies to the histories of American textiles, African art, and photography, and on to to American civilisation generally.

Co-edition La maison rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert – Fage Editions
Authors: Deborah Neff, Robin Bernstein, Nellie Mae Rowe, Deborah Willis, Patricia Williams, Madelyn Shaw, Hélène Joubert
Published in 2018
Bilingual edition (english/french)
16.0 x 22.0 cm
272 pages, 187 illustrations
ISBN: 9782849754979