“The many impressions of people from foreign countries are the memories I work with.”
Sasha as a child.
1893 Born on November 30th in Berne, the daughter of Eduard von Sinner (1834–1894) and Marie von Sinner-Borchardt (1867–1952). Her father died shortly after her birth.
1906 Attended the Literary Gymnasium in Berne, the only girl in her class.
1909–1913 Studied art at the Geneva Art Academy.
1914 Paul Klee arranged a year of study with the painter Cuno Amiet in Oschwand, Berne. There she met Ernst Morgenthaler.
1915 Moved to Munich, attended the Hollósy School, began sculpturing, and at the suggestion of Klee, took a semester of anatomy. Contact with Marc, Kandinsky and the Stefan George Circle.
1916 Returned to Switzerland. Marriage to the painter Ernst Morgenthaler.
Sasha Morgenthaler, photographed by the sculptor Karl Geiser, late 1930s.
1917 Moved to Geneva with her husband and worked as a painter.
The sons Fritz and Niklaus Morgenthaler, painted by Ernst Morgenthaler, 1924.
1918 Birth of son Niklaus in Hellsau, Berne.
1919 Birth of son Fritz in Oberhofen near Thun.
Sasha with her cat, 1920s.
1920 Moved to Zurich-Wollishofen. Development of numerous friendships with artists and writers: Otto Meyer-Amden, Othmar Schoeck, Arthur Honegger, Hermann Hesse.
1923 Moved to a former textile factory “Seegut,” Küsnacht (Zurich).
The family Morgenthaler with nanny Hedwig “Hedy” Schneider (r.) and Curt von Sinner (behind; brother of Sasha), early 1920s. © Robert Walser-Stiftung Bern
1924 Birth of daughter Barbara. The sculptor Karl Geiser became a friend of Ernst and Sasha Morgenthaler. Early animals and dolls in cloth.
1928 Trip to Morocco.
1929 Moved to Meudon near Paris.
1932 Returned to Zurich, own atelier-home in Höngg.
Sasha in the workshop of the studio house in Höngg, 1960s. © Godi Leiser
1934/35 Trained as midwife in Basel.
1936 Study trip to North Africa.
1939 Mannequins for the Haute-Couture Pavillon of the National Swiss Exposition in Zurich.
Mannequins and dolls in the workshop in Höngg, 1958. © Godi Leiser
1940 Founded the Women’s Aid Auxilary Troops (“Hülfstrupp”). Auxiliary war duty in Zurich. Transport of refugee children.
1941 Won First Prize in toy competition of the Swiss Confederation.
1942 Produced life-size marionettes and mannequins for the Industrial Trade Fair in Basel and exhibits abroad. Modelled and developed the prototypes for the later Sasha Dolls. Brought together a team of people who assisted in the development of the hand-made original dolls.
Trudi Löffler, longtime and closest assistant of Sasha Morgenthaler. © Godi Leiser
1943 Mannequins for the Zurich Fashion Weeks.
Dolls and mannequins in the studio in Höngg, 1954. © Godi Leiser
1949 Trip to Algeria and Tunisia.
1958 First trip around the world with Ernst to Thailand, Hong Kong, a visit to Barbara in Australia, then Japan and the USA.
1961/1962 Traveling exhibition of Sasha dolls and animals in Germany.
1962 Death of Ernst Morgenthaler.
1963 Contact with Migros, the biggest retailer in Switzerland; first attempt to mass produce a reasonably priced doll.
Sasha with serie dolls in Höngg. © Godi Leiser
1964 Exhibition in Helmhaus, Zürich.
1965 Comprehensive exhibition in Schloss Schadau, Thun. Development of a mass produced doll according to new models.
1963–1970 Six trips around the world. Visits to her daughter Barbara in Australia.
1965–1969 First mass-produced Sasha doll (“Sasha-Serie”) from the Götz Factory, Rödental (Germany). 1995–2001, resumption of Sasha doll production according to Sasha Morgenthaler’s original designs and drawings.
1966–1986 Manufacture of Sasha dolls by the Frido/Trendon Company Ltd. in Stockport (England).
Left: Sasha Morgenthaler, 1966. © Godi Leiser. Right: Sasha Morgenthaler in Höngg, 1970s. Photo Eva Schneider © Atelier Bachmann, Zurich
1969 First satisfactory results of the English Sasha doll manufacture.
1970 Comprehensive exhibition in Musée des Arts décoratifs (Louvre), Paris.
1974 Exhibition in Jerusalem.
1975 February 18th. Death of Sasha Morgenthaler in Zurich-Höngg.
Compiled by Steffan Biffiger
Further biographical notes:
Barbara Krafft, “Morgenthaler-von Sinner, Sasha,” in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 18 (1997):
Wikipedia (German): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasha_Morgenthaler
Wikipedia (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasha_Morgenthaler
Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (German): http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/d/D43933.php
SIKART Lexikon zur Kunst in der Schweiz (German): http://www.sikart.ch/KuenstlerInnen.aspx?id=4026061