Measuring approximately 7.25 inches high, this highly sought after Black Vargas wax female figure selling vegetables 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 while growing up. 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 Collectible arena.
This figure, known as the Female Vegetable Seller, is one of the more difficult to find of the New Orleans street character wax dolls. Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This female Vegetable Seller wears a multi-colored kerchief on her head, a red and cream polka dot scarf around her neck, a cream shirt decorated with red flowers, a blue and white polka dot apron and pale blue skirt decorated with a sea of multi-colored flowers - all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. Balanced on her arm is a removable, wax, wicker-look basket filled with cabbage, carrots and rhubarb. The Vegetable Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base.
This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for her 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections other than two missing fingers on her left hand, a condition which is quite commonly found in Vargas figures. A highly collectible piece representing 1920s New Orleans's African American culture. Vargas figures are becoming increasingly more difficult to find!!
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