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1920 RARE Vargas New Orleans Black Americana Wax Doll Male Wood Seller

1920 RARE Vargas New Orleans Black Americana Wax Doll Male Wood Seller

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Directory: Popular Collectibles: Memorabilia: Black Americana: Pre 1930: Item # 1466010

Please refer to our stock # BA972 when inquiring.
Stonegate Antiques
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PO Box 1896
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

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Measuring approximately 7.5 inches high, this highly sought after Black Americana Vargas wax figure is mounted on its original wooden platform and is one of a series of fascinating "street character wax dolls" conceived of and crafted by Mrs. Conception Vargas Alfonso, daughter of the world-renowned, turn-of-the-20th century-New Orleans, Spanish sculptor, Francisco Vargas.

From approximately 1915 through the 1930's, Mrs. Vargas-Alphonso, influenced by the artistry of her father who also sculpted in wax, crafted a variety of wax dolls inspired by the black folk she saw on New Orleans's street corners selling their wares or practicing their trade. Sold exclusively at the time through Harriet's, of 318 Rue Royale in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the completely hand-made, one-of-a-kind dolls are seldom found on today's market due to their inherently fragile nature, making them highly sought after in the Black Memorabilia / Black Americana Collectible arena.

This figure, known as the Wood Seller, is most particularly hard to find, and thus, he is very seldom seen in today's collectible market.

Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This gentleman Wood Seller wears a red and yellow kerchief around his neck, a yellow shirt patterned with red flowers, green trousers and "leather" shoes- all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. At his feet is a very large, wax-coated burlap bag filled with small planks of wood, ready for burning. The Wood Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base. The bottom of the base features the original trade sticker advertising Harriet's. Remnants of an unreadable paper sticker are also noted on the front of the wooden base.

This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for his 80+ years of age with two imperfections: one missing finger on the right hand, and 3/4ths of the hat brim missing-- both conditions occurring due to the delicacy and fragility of the wax construction as both the hands and the hat are made solely from molded wax.

As a result, fingers are frequently found to be missing on Vargas figures, and hat brims often fall culprit to damage as well. The brimmed hats of Vargas male figures are the ONLY item of Vargas clothing that were never constructed of fabric first before being coated in wax- the only significant design flaw in the execution of these fabulous and iconic New Orleans Black Folk figures! (Pricing reflects hat brim damage)