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"Tease Me" 1920 Chalkware Flapper Bathing Beauty
Following the introduction of chubby wide-eyed characters by illustrators such as Rose O’Neill and Grace Drayton in the 1910s, there was a craze for figurines of pleasingly-plump long-lashed ladies with oversized googly eyes and alluring smiles. In 1919, “Playthings,” a magazine for the toy trade, declared that the novelty of the year was “beach girls” of fiber or wood composition. That same year, Genevieve Pfeffer introduced her “Splash Me dolls. The popularity of the Splash Me dolls inspired a whole bevy of similar bathing belles, including this flirtatious flapper who, across the front of her base, begs the viewer to “Tease Me.” Of brightly painted chalkware or plaster, this cherubic charmer in her yellow and black bathing costume is 7 inches and still has her lush blonde locks of mohair. The caption, “Tease Me,” is faintly incised on the front of her base. Underneath, someone has written“Year 1920” under the base in pencil. These comic characters were made to be inexpensive souvenirs of the boardwalk or carnival and their fragile plaster and paint rarely weathered the decades. This little miss is in wonderful condition for her age and composition. Her mohair tresses need a bit of taming, but they still soft and shiny. Although there are rubs to her paint on her chin, chest, arms, and legs, her coloration is remarkably intact, as are her adorable facial features, including her wide eyes and beestung lips.
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