Yesterday I went to the Museum of the City of New York with my mom, who was visiting for a few days. Unfortunately much of the museum’s permanent collection was not on view because of renovations, but we got to see the Stettheimer dollhouse, which was pretty fascinating.
Here’s an image of some of the dollhouse rooms from the museum’s website:
I didn’t have my camera with me and there aren’t many good photos of it online. Made by the New Yorker Carrie Stettheimer in the early 20th century, it’s charming as a dollhouse, but the most fascinating thing about it is the miniature artwork that decorates many of its walls. These tiny pieces were created by some well-known artists, including Marcel Duchamp and Gaston Lachaise, friends of the Stettheimer family.
I’ve never been a dollhouse hobbyist, but like train sets, there’s something irresistibly charming about the miniature possibilities they offer. After leaving the museum, I recalled seeing a very unusual dollhouse at the Museum of Arts and Design last fall made by Jennifer Angus. Her highly decorative piece, which was part of the “Dead or Alive” exhibit, was an enclosed dollhouse (viewable only through peep holes) inhabited by hundreds of posed insects.
It was my favorite piece in a very fun and unusual exhibition.
So now I’m thinking I need to make a dollhouse! Knitted of course. Knitted color work walls, knitted grizzly bear rugs, knitted gnomes in the garden, and gargoyles on the roof. This would be a big project, but so much fun, right? Surely I’ll find the time to get started on it one of these days…