Measuring approximately 7 inches high, this highly sought after Black Vargas wax figure which is mounted on its original wooden platform, 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-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 particular figure is known as the Vegetable Seller.
Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. The Vegetable Seller wears a blue and yellow striped bandanna around his neck, dark pants, and an orange and yellow polka dot shirt- all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. He carries a straw basket containing three different types of vegetables in his right hand while holding a corn cob in his outstretched left hand. His 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 retains its original paper sticker which reads, "HARRIET'S, 318 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA". Harriet's Gift Shoppe was the exclusive retail outlet for the sale of Vargas figures to the public.
This wonderful figure is in mint condition for his 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections. Amazingly, all fingers and both thumbs remain perfectly intact! (The fingers are so very, very thin and fragile that they are quite easily broken.)
The Vegetable Seller is most delightful- a snapshot into 1920's New Orleans cultural history!
Please see the other Vargas figure that is currently available and priced separately--type "Vargas" in the search box to quickly locate them. A photo of the other Vargas figure currently available for purchase has been included, for the buyer's viewing convenience, in this listing.
Please note- any white or light spots noted in photos are a result of sun light glare and are not reflective or discoloration or fading.