The Flickr user diepuppenstubensammlerin (the name means “the dollhouse collector”) has a remarkably wide-ranging and detailed series of galleries documenting dollhouses from Germany, with many of the sets pictured dating from the 1950s through the 1970s. The set pictured here came from a company called VEB Grünhainichen, if I understand correctly, and it was in East Germany, in fact on the border to what was then called Czechoslovakia.
The notion of children playing with dollhouses that have this kitschy wallpaper and kitchen tiles or tasteful/chintzy furniture of indubitably modern design. All you need is a Trabant driving by outside or the tones of the Klaus Renft Combo emanating from the hi-fi system and the picture is complete.
This all ties in vaguely with something we covered a couple of years ago, “Ostalgie,” which might be translated as “Eastalgia,” a coinage that refers to nostalgia for the old German Democratic Republic, or the DDR as it is known in German.
Helpfully, diepuppenstubensammlerin supplies a little explanation as to what we’re looking at:
VEB Holzspielwarenfabrik Grünhainichen
Die Fabrik wurde 1952 in Grünhainichen, damals DDR, als Volkseigener Betrieb durch die Verstaatlichung der Großhandelsfirma Cuno & Otto Dressel gegründet. Sie produzierte hochwertiges Holzspielzeug auf einem künstlerisch anspruchsvollen Niveau. 1966 wurde die Fabrik im Zuge der totalen Verstaatlichung aller Betriebe mit anderen Fabriken zu dem Kombinat VEB VERO zusammengeschlossen.”
Which basically means, the factory made wooden toys in Grünhainichen in the German Democratic Republic. The factory was founded in 1952 as the state-owned version of the company that had been known as Cuno & Otto Dressel. The factory produced high-quality wooden toys of a high artistic quality. In 1966, as part of the total nationalization of all businesses, the factory was combined with other factories to create the VEB VERO company.
If nothing else, acquring these dollhouses would enable children to stage their own versions of Ali: Fear Eats the Soul or any number of Rainer Werner Fassbinder classics. (Yes, Fassbinder mostly worked in West Germany, but the aesthetic of these toys fits either way…..)
Click on any image for a larger view.
via Messy Nessy Chic