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January 24 to May 28, 2006

Poster of the exhibit
Fur balls :
the best of French plush animals,

• • Plush animals in France • •

When speaking of plush animals, one always thinks of bears, even though many other fur or plush animals were being produced and sold throughout the last quarter of the XIX century.

During this time, most of the plush animals were made of real fur from rabbit and sheep or mohair from the wool of Tibetan goats.

Dogs made of fur

Mohair rabbits

The most popular animals were the dog, cat, horse and rabbit.

Monkeys and wild animals such as lions, tigers and elephants were made of leather, mostly for the mechanical toys.

At first, plush animals were very realistic with the live animals being used as a model. Over time, plush animals became idealized with rounder and softer shapes. Even though sometimes very different from the natural model, the soft cuddly form satisfied the expectations of children.

Bears being produced in the XIXth century were very different in appearance from the first mohair plush bear created in 1903 in Germany by Margareth Steiff. At the same time, the plush bear appeared in the USA, under the name of « teddy bear », as a tribute to the American president Theodore Roosevelt. From that moment, the mohair plush animal enjoyed an international market.

The first generation of real skin animal makers, such as Barbier, Crauser jeune, Dulongprey, Veuve Marcat, Pravelt, Notot…, eventually changed into the manufacturing of stuffed cloth animals or plush animals.

Cotton pluch animals

velvet plush animals

Pintel and Lang mainly dominated the second generation, producing goods between the two world wars. They used mohair plush, cotton plush and later synthetic fibres.

Synthetic plush animals

The firms worked with home workers and their activity was much more decentralized than the doll companies.

The following generations represented by Boulgom, Jan-Jac, Nounours, Agena, O’lis, Pintel, F.A.D’A.P., Alfa Paris, Nay Paris, Faye, JPM, Marjo, Murci… had been forced to adapt to the safety rules imposed upon companies producing children’s toys. This included the use of harmless and fireproof materials.

Pintel bear, 1920s

Pintel dog, 1960s

Nay plush animals, 1940-1950

Nay plush animals, 1940s

O'Lis plush animals, 1950-1960

O'Lis plush animals, 1940-1950

FAD'AP plush animals, 1920-1950

Alfa Paris plush animals, 1950s

Boulgom, Skine, Murcy plush animals, 1950-1960

Concurrently to the industrial production, the artistic creation of plush animals developed in the 1980’s. There are a large number of artists particularly inspired by the bear.

Today, in addition to its role of privileged toy, the plush animal is a main collectible item that supplies a market of auctions, clubs, specialized shops, fairs and exhibits.

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• • Identification card of a plush animal • •
• Material

rabbit or sheep fur, cloth (velvet, cotton or wool), mohair or cotton plush, synthetic fibres.

• Stuffing

wood, bran or straw fibres, kapok, synthetic fibres or balls, latex foam rubber.
• Eyes

shoe button, in glass, glaze, sulphide or plastic material, embroided, in sewed cloth, painted.

• Nose

embroided, in cloth, in plastic material, with the shape of a die…

• Mechanism

of voice, with wheels, rocking, jumping, walking, cymbalist…

• Functions

softy, toy, puppet, pyjama’s bag, muff, purse, box…

• Trademark

metal button on the body, cloth or cardboard label, stamp…

• Size

from 2 cm to more than 1 meter (1” to 40”)


Pyjama 's bags


Mechanical toys


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• • A charming exhibit • •

The exhibit presents about 200 loveable French plush animals in natural and rustic settings made of straw, branches and hessian.

It is divided in 3 parts :

The first is dedicated to historical firms, including the famous Lang, F.A.D’A.P., Pintel, and O’Lis companies…

Fur dogs used as candy containers or sewing basket

Mohair plush dogs, 1930s

Plush animals by Noé and Jan-Jac, 1950s

Plush animals, 1950s

The second shows the creations of a selection of today’s French plush animal makers : Blanchet, Doudou et Compagnie, Histoires d’Ours and Rose Marie Baby.

Doudou et compagnie plush animals

Histoires d'Ours plush animals

Blanchet teddy bear

Rose Mary Baby plush animals

The last one features some current artists’ creations : Yvonne Alexieff, Sophie Bouret, Dominique Champagnon, Véronique Dubosc, Hélène Géraud, Eric Giovannini, Françoise Gros, Françoise Jean, Marylou Jouet, Marie-Claude Lamothe, Nadine Laroudie-Rolland, Cyriaque Lecomte, Véronique Le Ridou, Nadine Murat Thevenot, Janine Perron, Monique Poeydaban, Renan Rossignol.

Creations by Yvonne Alexieff

Creations by Janine Perron

Creations by Eric Giovannini

Creations by Nadine Murat Thevenot

The exhibit will please yesterday’s children who remember their childhood plush animal, collectors of these memorable fur balls, as well as today’s children still as sentimental as their parents with these adorable little animals.


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Around the exhibit...

Publishing of a book on French plush animals and a dedication by the author

On the occasion of this exhibit, the Museum publishes a French-English bilingual catalogue that follows the progression of the exhibit. A first part presents antique plush animals. A second one shows the scope of today's plush animal makers, and a third section pays tribute to the several contemporary plush animal artists.

Size of the book : 21X29,7 (8,3" by 11.7") - in colours - issue : 1000 copies - price 30
for sale at the Museum's shop or by mail.

Dedication of the book by the author Samy Odin, director of the Museum and commissioner of the exhibit : Sunday March 5, 2006 at 3PM.

Meeting with the artists creating plush animals

A meeting with the artists whose plush animals are exhibited is organized. Artists participating are : Françoise Gros, Sophie Bouret, Janine Perron, Nadine Murat Thevenot, Dominique Champagnon, Renan Rossignol, Ciriaque Lecomte...

Sunday May 14, 2006 from 2PM to 5PM, at the Museum.

"Plush animals stories" tales and stories for children

After your visit of the museum, go on your trip through the wonderful world of plush animals while listening to stories told by Vanessa Brunel.

Every Wednesday 4.30PM - with reservation 01 42 72 73 11
Lasting about 1h30 (visit + tales) - for children from 3 to 10 years old - in French
Prices (visit of the Museum + tales) : 10€/adult - 8€/reduced - 7€/child

"Make your own cloth plush animal" workshops for children

Workshops to make a cloth plush animal (rabbit or bear) are programmed for children from 5 to 12 years old.
Each child, will create his own plush with the help of an adult : stuffing, sewing, making of the eyes and nose...
After the workshop, children will visit the exhibit and the Museum.

Material provided - Limited number of children : 5 to 11 -
Bear - every Wedsnesday, from February 22 to April 12 at 10AM.
Rabbit - Easter holidays, April 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 2006 at 10 AM.
Lasting 2 hours - Price : 12 € (workshop +museum) - With reservation 01 42 72 73 11

Birthday party with dolls

Have a birthday party with your friends, dolls and plush animals.
Unguided tour of the Museum with an educational questionnaire + cake (not provided) + stories.

Group 8-14 person 7€/child - 10€/adult.
Group 15-25 person 6,5€/person.
with reservation 01 42 72 73 11.

A specialized shop – bookstore

The Museum’s shop is opened at the same time as the exhibition rooms, and is also available on this website.

Play dolls and collectible dolls, clothes and accessories, as well as a wide range of books and products are for sale.
Several industrial and artist plush animals will be available during this exhibit as well as the material for making a cloth teddy bear.

A doll hospital and appraisals

The Museum’s doll hospital repairs antique dolls, baby dolls, plush animals... and makes appraisals.
Veronique Derez, our doll doctor, is usually there on Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm but you can come any other day for an estimate.

Free estimate of the repairs are given on presentation of the sick doll or plush animal. Appraisals and doll identity card with charge are made on appointment and on presentation of the doll.

A seamstress for dolls

The seamstress for dolls makes clothes, specially designed for your dolls.

Isabelle Banon, our seamstress, remains at your disposal on Tuesday and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm to examine your projects and talk needlework..

Free estimate on presentation of the doll to be dressed.

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Next exhibit from June 6 to September 24, 2006

Museum's collections exhibited elsewere

• "Schönheiten aus papier" in the Puppenhausmuseum of Bâle, Switzerland
(The private paper dolls collection of Guido Odin)
from October 23, 2005 to April 17, 2006

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