Theriault’s, an auction house specializing in antique dolls and children’s playthings, will kick off its 50th anniversary year with a special event Jan. 10-12, 2020, at the Ritz-Carlton in Santa Barbara, California. The auction will feature the legendary doll collection of American heiress Huguette Clark, followed by a special 50th Anniversary Marquis auction featuring more than 300 dolls.

When Huguette Clark, the daughter of Gilded Age copper baron W.A. Clark, died in 2011 at the age of 104, she left behind paintings by Monet and Renoir, violins by Stradivarius, jewels from Cartier, and her famed collection of rare antique dolls. The doll collection will be auctioned by Theriault’s to benefit The Bellosguardo Foundation, which oversees the historical coastal property in Santa Barbara bequeathed by Huguette Clark as a future center for the arts. A small collection of historically relevant dolls will be curated by Theriault’s and retained by Bellosguardo for inclusion in the home display.

The collection includes French dolls and automata from 1860-1890, as well as selections of early Japanese cultural dolls and architectural miniatures.   The dolls will be presented in a commemorative catalog which includes many historical references concerning Clark’s life, including correspondence with Christian Dior, the iconic fashion house which created custom costumes for some of her 19th-century fine French bebes.

Over 300 dolls will be included in Theriault's 50th Anniversary Marquis event Jan. 12, 2020.
Over 300 dolls will be included in Theriault’s 50th Anniversary Marquis event Jan. 12, 2020.

Throughout its 50th anniversary year, Theriault’s will echo catalog titles from the past, beginning with A Circle of Dolls, which was the theme of Theriault’s October 1981 catalog auction. Highlighting this auction are dolls from the estate of Connie Frank of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Dolls in the auction include a very fine early English wooden lady, an American Izannah Walker cloth doll, German bisque googlies, rare Schoenhut models, wistful children by Kathe Kruse, rare early Steiff children, and all-bisque mignonettes.

The full catalogs, as well as additional information about the auctions, can be viewed online at Theriault’s website.