Götz Dolls: What You Need to Know

Sylvia Natterer Gotz dolls
Wald-Burger8/Wikimedia Commons

Götz has been producing dolls since 1950 when Marianne and Franz Götz founded Götz Puppenfabrik in Rodental. The first dolls were made of papier-mâché and were crafted with the help of five family members and sold directly to the public by Franz Götz. Today, the company has an American subsidiary based in the United States and is run by the second-generation of the Götz family.

The official name of the German company is Götz Puppenmanufaktur GmbH. The spelling, "Götz" is more commonly used in Germany, while "Goetz" is used in the USA. The official name of the US company is Goetz Dolls, Inc. The Götz dollmaking factory is located in the small village of Rödental in Bavaria, Germany. The United States subsidiary of Götz is in Radisson Corporate Park in Baldwinsville, New York, where there is a Götz Doll Shop and Visitor Center.

Sasha Dolls

The Götz company, in cooperation with famous doll artist Sasha Morgenthaler, developed what is considered by many to be the first manufactured "Artist Doll" in 1965. Morgenthaler was born in 1893 and died in 1975. She started to make toys and dolls in the 1920s and progressed further and further into doll making. She developed the Sasha doll, which she was thrilled with because of its life-like qualities and expression, but was dismayed at how costly the dolls were when she was producing the dolls in her own studio.

Ms. Morgenthaler teamed up Götz for mass production of the Sasha dolls. Götz Sasha dolls were made only until 1970, but the dolls were also produced in England by Frido/Trendon from 1966 to 1986. Götz started making Sasha dolls again in 1995 and continued until 2001 when a difference of opinion between the heirs of the artist and Götz on how closely the dolls should resemble the originals resulted in an end to the license contract.

Modern Doll Lines

Götz dolls are still produced in Germany in one of the largest doll factories in the world. Dolls that have been produced by Götz range in size from miniatures by German artist Ulrike Hutt up to nearly 40-inch dolls by Indonesian artist Dwi. They produce several lines of dolls there, including hand-crafted dolls that are made for play but are of high quality. The dolls are created in association with doll artists and each comes with a Götz bracelet, artist's signet, and a certificate.

The Artist Edition dolls are produced in limited or one-year productions. There are play dolls that are not limited and priced for wide distribution in specialty stores. These dolls include the inventively named Mini-Muffins, Muffins, and Maxi-Muffins. Finally, Götz also produces licensed dolls such as Harry Potter dolls in Europe and their Beatrix Potter collection introduced in 2001; these dolls have clothing embroidered with Beatrix Potter themes.

Collaborations

In 1989, Götz started producing collections by artists Sylvia Natterer and Carin Lossnitzer, both of whom still create dolls for Götz to this day. In 1997, Götz started a line of children's dolls with Pampolina, a German manufacturer of children's clothing. Götz also has the license to produce Harry Potter dolls in Europe, but not in the United States, and they work with well-known artists Hildegard Gunzel, Sylvia Natterer, Didy Jacobsen, Spanish artist Susi Elmer, Joke Grobber, Tara Heath, and many others.

DOTY Awards

Götz has won many doll industry awards, including several DOTY Industry’s Choice Awards. The DOTY Awards Program, sponsored by Doll Reader magazine, recognizes superior achievement in doll creation. Winning dolls from the Goetz collection include Kimy, an all-vinyl bath baby from the Kinderland collection; Anna Maria, who, along with her exclusive bear from Steiff celebrates the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear; Thijs, a 23.5-inch sleeping baby by Dutch artist Didy Jacobsen; Baby Evchen, an 18-inch blonde-haired baby girl by German artist Elisabeth Lindner; and Holly, the 25.5-inch curly-haired blonde toddler from Hildegard Guenzel’s family of five sisters, her first artist doll collection for the company.

Collectors 

According to Götz, the average Götz doll collector is "in her late 40’s, early 50’s, and has more disposable income than her mother at the same age. She decorates her home with what she collects, buying with an appreciation for durability. She also buys for her grandchildren or her friends’ children. This collector was an early adapter to computers and is willing to research, buy and collect from home or office—sometimes limiting her access to the dolls through traditional shopping in person."