This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Olly Wendt starting work at our workshops. In preparation for the new special exhibition dedicated to the life and work of this talented designer, “Talent. Fate. A Life’s Work”, we undertook intensive research, making comparisons and checking in the company archives, including the genesis of many of our figurines.
When we reached the bunny musicians we discovered what could be seen as an Easter surprise. So far as we knew this design had been attributed to our company founder Grete Wendt. But we have now made new discoveries: One of the sketches is dated “17.II.1926”. What is special about this rather ordinary inscription is the use of Roman numerals for the month. Earlier research had shown that Olly Sommer (later Wendt) nearly always dated her sketches in precisely this way, whether they were her personal drawings of landscapes or her design sketches, while Grete Wendt never used Roman numerals on her drawings. This makes this way of writing the date almost as significant as a personal mark or signature. So we can now attribute the design of the bunny orchestra to the work of Olly Wendt.
These musical bunnies make particularly lovely decorations at Easter. They were originally made in three different sizes. The largest were ten centimeters high. The historic originals shown dancing and playing instruments on one leg can be admired in the Grand Sample Cabinet at Wendt & Kühn World in Grünhainichen. The medium-sized bunny musicians come in at eight centimeters.
From the moment they were conceived, bunnies of this size came with a large range of different instruments. These popular figurines can still be found in the collection today. The smallest bunny musicians measure only five centimeters high. The 1930 catalog shows only a single singer holding sheet music. Whether at the time there were further instruments for this smallest size of bunny is not known.
It is not until 1964 that more musicians appear in the catalog. A characteristic the bunnies all have in common is their flat arms and legs that nestle against their bodies – an eye-catching feature in every Easter decoration.