I sew because I have to—it is just that simple. After a long day hunched over my computer dealing with the vagaries of English spelling, clumsy syntax and wayward grammar, not to mention computer crashes and arbitrary and demanding clients, I look forward to time spent with my needle and thread, the tactile delight of cloth in my hands and the pleasure of working with color and form—nothing is more life-sustaining and yes, it has to be said, more therapeutic.
Marilyn Neuhart and her husband John were well-known and respected graphic designers for over fifty-five years and both worked at the Eames Office from 1957 to 1961 and freelanced for another thirty years. Neuhart began making her dolls the same year she started working for Eames and would give them as gifts to friends and family. In 1959, upon seeing a doll made for Ray Eames, Alexander Girard asked Neuhart to create them in quantity to sell at his Textile & Objects shop, which opened in New York in 1961. In total, Neuhart made about 2,000 of the dolls within a few years, all while working at Eames and teaching at UCLA. The Neuharts would then go on to create some of the most comprehensive and thoughtful presentations of the history of Eames Office.
Marilyn Neuhart was born in Long Beach, California. She attended the Long Beach City College and the University of California, Los Angeles, later teaching design at UCLA. In the summer of 1957, Marilyn married John Neuhart, a graphic designer. That same year John was hired to be a freelance designer in the Eames office, and the couple founded their printing company, The Hand Press. While John was working as a freelancer for the Eames, Marilyn began sewing dolls, which were inspired by “Medieval and Renaissance embroidery.” Marilyn stated that when she “became a full-time freelance graphic designer,” she “took up [her] needle in earnest” and began to create.
Ray Eames was taken with Neuhart’s textile art, and she sent one of the dolls that Marilyn created to Alexander Girard in 1959. Girard was so smitten by the pieces he commissioned Marilyn to make 100 of her dolls for the opening of his “Textile and Objects” store in New York in 1961. The dolls were very popular and Neuhart even created DIY kits for her customers to make her works. In 1976, the Neuharts created an exhibit on the Eames studio at the Wright Gallery at UCLA; the show traveled to the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, the University of Texas at Austin, as well as abroad to Britain and France. From 1980 to 1988, Marilyn and her husband were partners in the firm Neuhart Donges Neuhart, which boasted IBM, Herman Miller, and the Getty Museum among its clients. Marilyn and John are the authors of several books on Charles and Ray Eames, including Eames Design, Eames House, and The Story of Eames Furniture. Marilyn continues to work in textiles from her home in Hermosa Beach, California.
Auction Results Marilyn Neuhart