One picture of the artist Marie Vassilieff seems to sum up the originality of her work: wearing an eccentric Harlequin costume designed for the “Bal Banal” – a party for Russian émigrés held in Paris in 1924 – she is sitting on a stool, legs and arms akimbo, gazing at the viewer through a metal mask. While the geometric dress evokes her early Cubist aesthetic, Vassilieff’s pose is robotic, calling to mind the hundreds of dolls the artist created over her long but little-known career. In the 1910s, after she arrived in Montparnasse and opened her atelier, the artist began making a series of handcrafted marionettes. These dolls served no theatrical purpose, instead expressing the general avant-garde fascination with dummies as sculptural objects. Although they are all crafted using simple materials like recycled fabric, sawdust, papier-mâché, and wire, they follow two different styles. Some, which are heads alone, strive for a “primitive” aesthetic; the other, more numerous group of portraits de poupées are full-body caricatures of the many figures who gravitated around the Académie like Le Corbusier, Josephine Baker, or Jean Cocteau, offering a precious, whimsical record of the Parisian community’s social and intellectual life.