Sunday, June 9, 2013

Color Your World With This Most Unusual Steiff Painter Dog Doll

It's time to get creative with this most unusual and early Steiff rarity!  Steiffgal recently learned of this amazing dog doll through a fellow Steiff collector in Switzerland.  Although Steiffgal had seen a photo of him in the Steiff Sortiment book, that could not prepare her for the excitement of knowing a friend had one in the flesh, or in this case, in the fur!  Let's take a look at this wonderful item and see what makes him so interesting from the design and historical perspectives.

It goes without saying that this Steiff treasure is pretty as a picture.  Here we have Steiff's Kleksel The Painter Dog doll.  He is 30 cm tall, head jointed, and standing on flat feet.  His head, feet, and hands are made from mohair, while his solidly stuffed body is made from fabric.  His arms are not jointed but hang softly at his sides. He does not have a tail.  He is artistically attired in a cream colored, collared shirt; an orange felt jacket; green and tan plaid pants; a little leather belt; and a red bow tie.  He originally came with a slouchy hat, but this has been lost to time.  Kleksel was made in this size in two years only, 1939 through 1940.

This charming Kleksel is one of a group of Steiff Pupp-dogs (doll dogs) made by Steiff in the very late 1930's.  These animal dolls were dressed in national clothing or in clothing associated with specific occupations.   The others included a Scotty as a Scotsman with a kilt in 22 and 28 cm; an Arco German Shepherd as a farmer in 22 and 28 cm; Paddy the terrier as a sailor in 30 cm; Waldi as a hunter in 22 and 28 cm; and a Chow as an explorer in 30 cm.  Unlike these "working" Steiff pupp-dolls, earlier versions from the late 1920's through mid-1930's were more playfully or youthfully dressed and were not associated with adult professions.  

And what about his funny Steiff name, "Kleksel?"  This word roughly translates from German to English as "a blob."  In this case, a blob could be referring to a number things:
  • A "blob" of paint, which would be perfectly appropriate for an artist doll; 
  • The "blobs" of color on his ears and face, which are indeed multi-hued;
  • The fact that the dog may be lazy and lies around all day resting as a "blob";
  • Or something totally different... only Kleksel knows for sure!
It is interesting to note that unlike most of Steiff's animal dolls, Kleksel-like dogs did not appear in the standard Steiff line.  In the vast majority of cases, these animal dolls were designed with the heads of the most popular animals of the era, like Bully the bulldog, Charly the King Charles Spaniel, Arco the German Shepherd, etc.  It is not clear exactly what dog breed Kleksel represents, with his black and brown ears, prominent white muzzle, and relatively small open felt lined mouth.  He really does not look very much like any other standard Steiff dog in the line at the time of his manufacture.  It is Steiffgal's best guess that he somewhat resembles a Saint Bernhard or perhaps even a Spaniel.   What do you think? 

Steiffgal hopes this introduction to Steiff's Kleksel the Painter Dog has been a colorful experience for you!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The teddy bear search engine