Factory Toys and Their Discontents: Artistic Toys in Germany and Austria ca. 1900
Museum of German-American Heritage, Washington DC, March, 21 2019
On 21 March 2019, Dr. Megan Brandow-Faller joined the Museum of German-American Heritage for an enlightening lecture and discussion on the role of German toys in American households at the beginning of the 20th century and onward.
In conjunction with our current exhibit, How German Toy-makers Captured the Hearts of Americans: 200 Years of German Toys, she will deliver a general overview of the German toy industry and explain in greater depth the “artistic” or reform toy movement that began in German-speaking Europe in 1900. Brandow-Faller will inform visitors as to how the artistic movement known as the Vienna Secession spawned a push for a return to the “primitive” and childlike toys of pre-industrial Europe, in opposition to the industrialized and mainstream toys that were popular at the turn of the century. In her lecture she will incorporate toys similar to those on display in our current exhibit, bringing the history behind many of the toys displayed to life. Her research on the role of gender in the design of reform toys will also shed light onto an unexplored area of history: women’s roles in toy production.
About Megan Brandow-Faller
Megan Brandow-Faller is Associate Professor of History at the City University of New York, Kingsborough. Her research focuses on art and design in Secessionist and interwar Vienna, including children’s art and artistic toys of the Vienna Secession; expressionist ceramics of the Wiener Werkstätte; folk art and modernism; and women’s art education. She is the editor of Childhood by Design: Toys and the Material Culture of Childhood, 1700-present (Bloomsbury 2018) and the author of The Female Secession: Reclaiming ‘Women’s Art’ and the Decorative at the Viennese Women’s Academy, 1897-1938 (Penn State University Press, Forthcoming). Brandow-Faller has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and books.