Very Rare Portrait of Native American Chief from Early Premiere Series

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20" (51 cm.) Rich amber brown felt swivel head with strongly featured nose and chin, stitched ears, painted blue side-glancing eyes, black painted brows and war paint details, black silk floss braids, firmly-stuffed amber brown felt torso and limbs, painted sunburst on his front torso, jointing at shoulders and hips, four stitched-together fingers, separate thumb. Wearing blue felt costume with embroidered and braided accents, fringed detail on pants and sleeves, belt with two separately attached felt holster and purse trimmed with beading, felt moccasins, wrapped headdress with bountiful felt "feathers" that cascade to his heels at the back. Condition: overall excellent with some light fading of costume at the front, headdress feathers are restored by R. John Wright. Comments: Lenci, circa 1920, the model was featured in the Paris department store catalog of Au Printemps in that year, described as "No 1 Chef Indien" at a price of 189 fr. Fifteen Lenci dolls were shown in that catalog, believed to be the premiere advertisement of her dolls. This model was #1 of her dolls, and was the most expensive in the ad. Value Points: extremely rare doll whose artistic details include facial and chest painting. Few examples are known to exist. Ex-Collection R. John Wright. The 1800s European fascination with the American Wild West, continued into the early 1900s, invigorated by the silent film industry. It is certain that Lenci was intrigued by this phenomenon also, as a few years later she actually presented a cowboy named Tom Mix in honor of the Hollywood silent film star.
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