Blog Post #3 Rose O’Neill

Rose O’Neill was many things and her official site even cites her as “ a sculptor, suffragist, inventor, business woman, philosopher, poet, novelist, children’s book author, and even a musician.”. More important than any thing, I believe, was the fact that she was a woman in the 1920’s who was one of the highest paid illustrators of the time and one of the first to build this brand of merchandising in a series of toys, storybooks, clothes and more revolving around her creation of Kewpie. Additionally, she was the first creator of double sided paper-dolls which then transitioned into three dimensional dolls due to popularity and took on a recognizability akin to Mickey Mouse for the day. It was a notable thing to learn about the origin of the Kewpie doll and figurine as nowadays I, and probably several other people from the same generation, know of it mostly from the popular Japanese brand Kewpie Mayonnaise. The word “Kewpie” today is basically synonymous with the condiment even though the mascot very clearly reads as American so it was interesting to discover its origins as well as all the illustrative work behind it. In midst of this, O’Neill was still a very talented fine artist and while she was known for the her cute and romantic side, her darker, and more fantastical work provides a compelling contrast.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *