An Early 20thC German Pair of Mannequin Legs c.1920

Origin: German
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920
Height: 41”
Width: 15”
Depth: 11” (all at extremities)

The life size mannequin, now in half form, with papier mache legs with painted gesso surfaces, now distressed with age with cotton stokinette original black shoes and socks, and surviving from early twentieth century Germany.

The condition of the mannequin would be described as fairly fragile but able to be free-standing. The legs are very evocative of their life thus far as are the original socklets and shoes. The top section is overstuffed with 1920s paper cuttings and the black stokinette is thin and partially covers these papers. This example was probably a full size at one stage with the top half now lacking.

At the time of its creation these mannequins were actually quite ephemeral and the focus wasn’t on them being made to last. Even so, the prominent painter William Etty still parted with £48 for one in 1823, the equivalent of £5300 now.

The articulated human figure made of wax or wood has been a common tool in artistic practice since the 16th century. Its mobile limbs enable the artist to study anatomical proportion, fix a pose at will, and perfect the depiction of drapery and clothing. Over the course of the 19th century, the mannequin gradually emerged from the studio to become the artist's subject, at first humorously, then in more complicated ways, playing on the unnerving psychological presence of a figure that was realistic, yet unreal--lifelike, yet lifeless.

Simply place in a quiet corner and surprise your guests.