Saturday, October 8, 2011

Potrait of Aaron by Philip Heath

Aaron by Philip Heath

Aaron by Philip Heath ranks high among my favorite artist dolls. I fell in love with another collector's Aaron and for years thereafter desired an Aaron of my own. His initial and even secondary market price prevented Aaron's arrival. Eventually I found one at a price I could not refuse. Patience saves.

Aaron is featured in Chapter 5, on page 261 in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.  The vinyl doll was made in 1998 in a limited edition of 500.  Aaron measures 39in/99.06cm.  There are two vinyl versions:  Aaron I and Aaron II.  Their outfits differ.  Other than that, I believe they are one in the same.  My doll is Aaron II.

My Aaron was originally featured here along with other dolls made in Germany and again in a blog post featuring dolls dressed in school attire where he wears clothing and shoes my grandson wore when he was three.

In the image on the left, Aaron wears his original fashion: white T-shirt, long white pants, tan corduroy vest, white baseball cap, with white socks and canvas sneakers.

After learning that my doll did not come with his booklet, Portrait of Aaron by Philip Heath, the owner of the doll that inspired me to purchase mine, photocopied her booklet and mailed it to me.

Doll collectors are such wonderful people.

Sculpted in the likeness of a real child, in Portrait of Aaron, Heath shares in his own words and through illustrations what inspired the doll's initial porcelain sculpt, which was later produced in vinyl by Götz of Germany.  About the real Aaron, Heath wrote:

Aaron has wonderful enthusiasm, a willingness to be captured by fleeting ideas which send him into a riot of activity.  At other times he is quiet, dreamlike -- almost frozen in thought!

Later in the booklet, as the porcelain version neared completion, Heath questioned:
The frightening part! Did I do too much or not enough, will the painting, the eyes, eyelashes and clothing strengthen the work or lead me away from my goals?

Because the booklet contains images of the real Aaron, I can answer Heath's question with a resounding, "No.  You did not do too much.  Aaron, the doll, is perfect!  I love him!" 

Near the end of the booklet, Heath continues:
This process -- from photographs to finished vinyl portrait took one year.  Aaron has grown, as is the way with children, and I have visited and phoned him during this time.  He has been an important part of my thinking and feeling -- and through my work he became part of my life.  I hope that the porcelain, the vinyl sculpture and this book will be acceptable to him in his life, and to his family.

with love

The final page of the photocopied version of Portrait of Aaron reads:
A celebration of ART and caring
made possible through a partnership between Aaron,
Cultural Accents/Detroit, Barat Child and Family Services/Detroit,
Goetz Dolls/U.S.A. and Götz Puppenfabrik GmbH/Deutschland.

Interestingly, years before Aaron was made or before I became aware of the doll, my doll collecting path briefly crossed that of  the owner of Cultural Accents/Detroit. During our doll-related phone conversations, probably three at the most, she confided in me that she knew Philip Heath and that he was one of her favorite doll artists.  I remember her saying, "I love him!"  This woman had also recently become an adoptive mother, of a young male child.




  1. Be still my heart. He has been one of my favorites ever since he was available. Funny, I never tried to acquire him. I was always happy just seeing him in the stores or in pictures. Heath did a phenomenal job on him.

  2. Heath did do a phenomenal job on Aaron. I love most of his dolls with the exception of the Lost and Found series. He "lost" me with those.

  3. Thanks for the link to the Lost and FOund series. I have to read up to find out why he named it the "lost and found" series. After looking at the dolls a few times, I fell in love with quite a few. I could see the real child behind the sculpt and I wanted to know what their world was like.

  4. What a handsome doll. He looks so real. That would really freak my husband out if he saw him sitting in a chair LOL. He always says that if my doll collection (and trust me there is a lot of them) ever starts moving, then he is throwing holy water everywhere LOL. Men!!!
    Great doll !

  5. LOL! Your husband is too funny. Interestingly, Aaron is the only doll my husband tolerates being in an area that is not specifically designated for dolls. He is one of the few that he knows by name, too.


  6. Aaron is VERY nice.
    I love Philip Heath's work,too.
    I have Ami from "A World
    of Children".

    I'm happy that you have Aaron.
    I know the feeling of wishing
    for a doll,and the joy of finding

  7. Thanks for your comment, Christine.

    Ami and her brother Yoromong have been on my wait/wish list for quite some time.


  8. I hope your wish in finding Ami
    and Yoromong comes true.

  9. Thank you, Christine! It will. May all your dolly wishes come true, too.


  10. You're very welcome!
    And,thank YOU!

    How many years have you
    been collecting?

    For me it's 23 years.
    I have a lot of black

  11. Hi Christine,

    You're welcome. This year marks my 20th year as a doll collector.


  12. My collecting started with a black
    Barbie-like doll.I named her Judy.


Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!