Friday, March 4, 2011

Moma's art dollhouse

This dollhouse is in the MOMA online catalog. It was created as part of the Peter Norton Family Christmas Art Project in 2002.

Each year since 1988, rather than sending out a holiday card, Mr. Norton has commissioned an artist to create an edition - usually the sculptural objects or books known as "multiples." These are produced in quantities from 2,500 to 5,000 unnumbered copies, according to Kris Kuramitsu, the curator of the Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton Collections, who oversees the project. Once finished, the pieces are packed by a fulfillment house near the Norton-family office in Santa Monica, Calif., and shipped out around the world a few weeks before Christmas. Anything not sent out ends up in the store.

2002 was the year of the Yinka Shonibare dollhouse. A lavish toy modeled after the Anglo-Nigerian artist's own London home, it is outfitted with tiny furniture and miniaturized paintings and photographs.

I have pasted the pictures and the text below directly from the MOMA store website. See it at this link.

Yinka Shonibare, 2002
Yinka Shonibare was born in London in 1962 and spent most of his youth in Lagos. His dual African and English cultural identity plays a large role in his work, which often takes the form of headless figures wearing the elaborate clothing of upper-class Victorians. Shonibare's work explores issues of race and class through different media including sculpture, painting, photography, and installation art.

In the 18th century, dollhouses which were exact miniature replicas of larger homes were often custom-made for elite and well-to-do families. This dollhouse is a replica of the 1872 Victorian town house in the East End of London where Shonibare now lives. As in many of his other projects, Dutch wax print cloth figures prominently (in this dollhouse the chairs and bed are covered in it). To impart a lived-in quality, Shonibare selected furniture in various woods and styles to fill the rooms. The two-story house includes cabinets, chairs, tables, fireplaces, and a canopy bed, along with reproductions of paintings by Shonibare and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. 

Active play with the dollhouse is encouraged.

SPECIAL OFFER: MoMA members now save 20% on the Peter Norton Family Christmas Art Projects. The special discount will appear during online checkout.

Made in the USA

Size: 11.5h x 8w x 9.25"d
Item# 83215
$675.00 Members

I find it a bit pricey, but it is an objet d'art, so I guess it would be worth it. In fact, the price sounds low in this limited-edition context. I am not sure if it is still available for sale, but I followed the purchase and check out procedure right up to having to put in my credit card and the system didn't kick me out, so maybe it is.

If anyone has this house or plans to buy one let me know. I am curious to hear a first person review.

To see MOMA's affordable modern dollhouse go to's post here.


  1. Thanks for posting, Susan! My former boss was on the Norton Christmas list, so I would always look forward to seeing the gifts! They are very elaborate and unique, like this house.

  2. Very interesting! I too am interested in a first hand review..

  3. Yes, you're right the doll house is very expensive but it is a very reasonable due to its high quality. I want to check it personally.