Monday, September 5, 2016

Through the Eyes of Leo Moss: His Story, His Dolls Part 3 of 4

Moss Doll Replicas
Many Moss replicas are so well done they can both satisfy a collector’s desire to own an original at a fraction of the cost as well as possibly mislead one to believe the reproduced version is authentic if not properly labeled a replica.  There are two known artists who made fine examples of Moss-type dolls and sold them as reproductions.  The late, Betty Formaz, the woman who introduced Moss dolls to the doll community, identified her circa 1970s through 1990s dolls as her Moss-type creations.  During the 1990s, Rubin Quintano, a quite capable doll artist, also made Moss-type replicas that bear his signature.   
30-inch Moss look-a-like by Betty Formaz
A 30-inch (76 cm) doll, which looks more male than female, made by Betty Formaz, has a composition-over-vinyl head with sculpted, tightly coiled, black hair; brown inset eyes, brown cloth body, and brown-painted vinyl arms and rigid-vinyl legs.  The doll arrived to its current owner dressed as a girl by its former owner or by Formaz, herself.  It is now dressed in unisex attire.  B-4MAZ in gold paint is written on the doll’s neck.  An index card that accompanied the doll to its new owner reads:  Baby large (pink print dress); one of a kind B. Formaz, 6/30/94; 5147, 400.00.  
Close-up of 30-inch Formaz Moss look-a-like
It appears Formaz used a circa 1970s manufactured white doll to create this Moss look-a-like whose papier-mâché face is sculpted over the doll’s existing head.    

16-inch Leo Moss type by Betty Formaz
A 16-inch (41 cm) doll by Betty Formaz, whose gender is also ambiguous, from the collection of Yvonne Peters, was made similar to the 30-inch doll described previously.  This baby has composition-over-vinyl head with similarly sculpted black coils for hair.  The eyes, which were probably originally brown, have changed to a purplish color, a flaw that often occurs with acrylic eyes used in some artist dolls made during the 1980s and 1990s.  The vinyl arms are brown as is the firmly packed fabric body.  The baby wears a well-made tan romper with antique lace at bodice and button flap opening in back with gathered fabric at the belted waist.  Displayed in a basket lined with a sage green floral print quilt with the same fabric wrapped around the handle of the basket, the baby’s neck is marked 4MAZ in gold. 

15-inch Leo Moss-inspired baby by Betty Formaz
A 15-inch (38 cm) Leo Moss-inspired character baby by Betty Formaz has porcelain head and hands; dark brown, almost black stockinette body, upper arms, legs, and feet; brown inset eyes and teardrops on cheeks.   

In addition to its acrylic tears, frowning eyebrows further illustrate this baby’s displeasure.  The open/closed mouth exposes a molded tongue.  The baby has black hair of short, tight curls, the top-center of which falls into a Widow’s peak.  Its outfit consists of a hand-sewn pink and white gingham dress, matching bonnet with ruffled trim and floral appliqué, and matching undergarment.  White socks and pink felt Mary Jane shoes with black soles cover the feet.  On the neck, the baby is signed B. Formaz in gold paint. 

A doll with similar features as the above-described baby by Formaz appears on page 386 of Perkins’ Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II (BD book 2).  This circa late-1980s to early-1990s porcelain and cloth Moss-inspired doll by Formaz is larger at 20 inches (50 cm).  Other Formaz-made Moss-type dolls are also described on pages 386 and 387 of this publication.  They are:  Myla, a 20-inch (50 cm) papier-mâché and cloth doll; a 28-inch (71 cm) unnamed girl of papier-mâché and cloth; and Edgar, a 28-inch (71 cm) papier-mâché, composition, and cloth doll named for Perkins’ husband.  Illustrated and described in Perkins’ BD book 1 on page 315 are two porcelain and cloth crying children.  Except for their gender and clothing, Ruby and Leo, by Formaz, appear identical and stand 18-1/2 inches (47 cm) tall. 

Formaz used a variety of marks for her dolls.   4MAZ, B-4MAZ, B. Formaz, Betty Formaz, by Betty Formaz are documented as Formaz marks.  Rubin Quintano’s known doll marks were his initials, R.Q. possibly preceded and followed by numbers on the nape of his dolls’ necks.  The latter number perhaps indicates the year the doll was made.  It is uncertain what the preceding number represents. 

Cecily is a 22-inch Moss-type doll by Rubin Quintano, circa 1992.
Cecily by Quintano, measured by her present owner, is a 22-inch (55 cm) Leo Moss-type doll made of papier-mâché over composition with black cloth body.  

Cecily in a close-up photo
The frowning eyebrows and molded tears depict Cecily’s unhappy disposition.  The doll has large brown inset eyes and short black hair with molded curls.  Cecily wears a light blue tea-stained dress, white pantaloons, white socks, and light blue shoes.  Pinned to the front of the dress is a tag with “Cecily R.Q.” handwritten on it.  In red paint on the nape of the neck, Cecily is marked:  204-R.Q. 92.     According to the former owner, Phyllis Schlatter, Cecily was purchased at a UFDC Convention in Indianapolis in 1992.  (This might have been a regional event).  Cecily is also featured in BD book 2, page 417, wherein Phyllis provides for Perkins a description of Quintano’s doll-making process.  Stripping the paint from composition dolls, repainting them and remolding the head with Moss doll characteristics resulted in his nice Moss doll replicas.  According to Schlatter, Quintano added new inset eyes and new bodies.   Note that in BD book 2, Cecily’s name is spelled “Cicely” and her height is recorded as 23 inches (58 cm).

14-1/2-inch Moss-type doll by R. Quintano from the collection of Vicky Forbes

Another example of a Quintano Moss look-a-like is from the collection of Vicky Forbes.  This baby, with sad expression, is without tears, stands 14-1/2-inches (37 cm) tall, and has a composition-type head connected to a shoulder plate of the same material.

Like Quintano’s Cecily, Forbes’ doll has molded hair of short, curly texture, and inset eyes.  The fabric body is firmly stuffed.   This unnamed baby is dressed in a red and white large check dress which is believed to be original.  The neck is marked R.Q. in red paint.  Forbes purchased her Moss-type at an auction during the 1990s.

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