The links between Andy Warhol, Elsa Schiaparelli, Mdvanii de BillyBoy* & Lala, the Bleuette doll, Bild Lilli and other significant fashion dolls of the 20th-century, high fashion history as well as other contemporary artists is not obvious at first but it does exist.
At the origin of a great collection, there is always a passion, patience and more importantly, a vision. A vision to pass on during one’s lifetime a historic heritage, unique in its kind and to have the desire to make it available to the public eye motivated the creation of the Fondation Tanagra in Switzerland, a private non-profit cultural association for promoting European & International contemporary art, important international fashion dolls and European high fashion history.
Switzerland is not famous for its high fashion or doll making, nevertheless it has a rich know-how and tradition in these domains. One can think notably of the lace and embroidery work from Saint-Gall, to the Abraham fabric house, reknowned for their luxurious high fashion silks (which sadly, just closed down several years ago), to Jacob Schlaepfer, one of the world's leading and innovative producer of fabrics and textiles, and also to the great doll artist, Sasha Morgenthaler, creator of the mythical Sasha dolls and Antonio Vitali, master wood toy maker. All which will soon be featured on this site).
The Fondation Tanagra's activities are for the time being, only offered via this website. The next step is to find the appropriate location in Switzerland to create a space open to the public. What a great project it is to propose visitors not just another doll museum or another fashion or contemporary art museum, but a privileged place where all these parallel worlds would be gathered and presented with a specific and original approach.
After many years of living in Switzerland, we have been thinking more and more about the establishment of a museum for the Fondation, opened to the public. As BillyBoy* and I haven chosen the beautiful city of Delémont in the Swiss Jura, where we have been living since August 2011, we'd love to create it here: I am dreaming about this place and I like to think of it as...a giant doll's house, with chunky 1940s replicas of doll's house furniture outside, and a big, fake opened facade. Or maybe just a simple big cube with a single door, like those in the drawings and paintings that BillyBoy* did after his novel named "Liquid Screen in 19 Short Stories".... In any case, certainly a special place for contemporary arts, the rich history of fashion (including dolls, of course) and design.
Our son Alec Jiri to whom I was explaining this project and concept and how it requires a long maturation process and which has brought BillyBoy* and I to this point, a life-time work of enthusiasm and devotion, had this word to say: "Quelle itinérance!", which you can call a Freudian slip or a dyslexic made-up word using too different French words, one meaning "itinerary" and the other one "errance" meaning wandering. I found it perfect, since it sums up the action of finding slowly your own way that allows you to approach a life goal you deeply wish to achieve.
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Updated by The Fondation Tanagra Legal Team on Nov. 20, 2009