In 1909 celebrated artist Rose O'Neill, created the Kewpies, the impish characters of her illustrated stories that appeared in women's magazines. O'Neill used her Kewpies to advance progressive ideas about modern culture. Her Kewpies, unlike the mischievous Cupid for which they were named, worked as "social housekeepers," watching over working-class neighborhoods, caring for society's forgotten children, and battling social injustices. O'Neill said that the Kewpies came to her in a dream: "I knew they were elves, but of a new kind. I had the strange impression that their intentions were of the best. In fact, I knew at once they were bursting with kindness, and that their hearts were as well rounded as their tummies. I meditated on them for days afterward, and bit by bit, I saw their philosophy." As the Kewpies became popular, O'Neill worked on paper dolls, comics for newspapers, and Kewpie dolls for children to play with.


  • Title: Powder shaker
  • Date Created: 1915-1925
  • Location: USA
  • Type: Character Products
  • Medium: composition, paint, metal
  • Object ID: 78.1124
  • Artist: Rose O'Neill

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