|The M. I. Hummel® Collection|
We are proud to present a series of dolls based faithfully on the immortal art of Sister Maria Innocentia who was born Berta Hummel in 1909 in Bavaria, Germany. One of seven children, Berta was raised in a devout Catholic family, living above her father's dry goods store. As a child Berta showed creative talent, and developed a reputation in the village as the local artist. Yet she was also a cheerful, active girl, who loved the outdoors and the winter sports so common in the Alps. Her father encouraged her artistic talents and, at age 12, enrolled her in a boarding school about 20 miles away. Berta continued to grow in her abilities, and after graduation in 1927 she enrolled in the prestigious Academy of Applied Arts in Munich, where her talent and skills developed further.
After Berta graduated in 1931 with top honors, she chose to follow a religious calling that she had felt for some time and applied to enter the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen. The Congregation focused on teaching with an emphasis on the role of art in education. In 1934 she received the religious habit of the Congregation and the name Sister Maria Innocentia.
The newly ordained nun was assigned to teach art in a nearby school run by the convent. Though her days were busy teaching, she spent her spare time painting pictures of children. The Sisters were impressed with her art and sent copies to a publishing house in Stuttgart which specialized in religious art. The company decided to release copies of the works in postcard form, which was very popular in the early 20th century.
Soon afterward, Franz Goebel, the head of a porcelain company bearing his name, was looking for a new line of artwork, and happened to see some of these postcards in a shop in Munich. He approached the convent to gain permission to transform the charming drawings into figurines. Sister Innocentia was agreeable with this and the convent granted him sole rights to make figurines based on her artwork. The artist worked personally with Goebel Master Sculptors and Painters to create the new products. Interest in the figurines exploded after they were displayed in 1935 at the Leipzig Trade Fair, a major international trade show. A decade later, the figurines would begin to enjoy great success in the United States as well when returning American soldiers brought them home.
In her brief lifetime Sister Innocentia created an extensive collection of drawings and paintings, many of which have been translated into figurines and other beloved collectibles, a tribute to the spirit of childhood and the talent of a brilliant artist. Seventy years after the introduction of the first Hummel products, collectors now have the opportunity to acquire faithful dolls of Sister Maria Innocentia's designs interpreted for the first time in the felt medium!
Hummel® and M.I.Hummel® are trademarks owned by Franciscan Convent of Siessen/Germany.