There’s something so ‘connected’ about pink and blue, isn’t there? These are the classic ‘baby’ colors, they are complementary in the garden, and they simply play so nicely together. Perhaps that’s why Cybis chose to use them several times as the alternative special-version color of a sculpture. Sometimes a colorway switch can be notably less successful than the original, but not often in the case of pink/blue.
It’s interesting that although Cybis produced special variations of a number of pieces in which they altered the colorway and also changed other decorative elements as well, when they did their pink/blue alternates they changed nothing else but the color. They did this three times, all with non-limited editions: Betty Blue, Melissa, and Pandora.
This is the standard edition Betty Blue; she is just under 9” tall, introduced in 1974 at $175. By 1982 her retail price was $325 and by 1993, $495. The sculpture is based on the nursery rhyme Little Betty Blue lost her holiday shoe. What will poor Betty do? Why, give her another to match the other, and then she will walk in two. Her dress and hair ribbon, as well as her remaining shoe, are blue but there are some very pale pink shadings on the upper bodice and sleeves of her dress.
A bit of trivia: A sculpture of Betty Blue appeared on the tv show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ during its seventh season. It was episode #11, entitled “The Thought that Counts”, which first aired on December 9, 2002. The appearance of the sculpture seen on the show suggests that it may have been obtained directly from the Cybis studio because the dress appears to be a bright solid pink; perhaps it was made that way so as to show up better on camera? Or was repainted by the show’s prop department for that purpose? If you have a chance to watch this episode and are a porcelain aficionado, you will definitely be cringing at how carelessly the sculpture is handled in several of the scenes!
In the late 1970s Cybis produced a special edition of 100 sculptures for a Brielle Galleries event, for which they changed the shoe, hair ribbon and dress ribbons to pink. She was named Patty Pink and was made available on a first-come first-served basis to attendees of the event. She was not individually numbered but only 100 were made. At one time I had her in my collection and should mention that the actual shade of pink was not ‘salmon’ as it appears in this photo; it was a true clear baby pink. If I recall correctly, Patty was priced at $225.
Melissa was introduced in 1976 and is 10” tall. Her issue price was $225 and she was retired before the summer of 1982. Although not based on an actual poem, her tagline in all of the Cybis advertisements was Melissa shelters the timid hare and gentle creatures everywhere. Other than her blue eyes, pink is the only color used on this sculpture. The back of her robe is especially pretty, I think, with the delicately pink-tinted raised floral decoration.
Cybis probably made this special edition Melissa in blue for one of their galleries’ events in the late 1970s or very early 1980s. On this sculpture the two bows are now blue but the robe is left completely white, giving a damask effect. It’s not known how large this edition was or whether it was given a separate name; most such editions were not, although Patty Pink is one of the exceptions – probably because of the convenient alliteration!
Originally introduced in 1967 at $75, Pandora is 5” high and of course represents the legendary personifcation of curiosity. In Cybis’ advertising she was introduced with this original poem: Endowed with every charm save one: the wilful urge to pry; Pandora’s name is still invoked whenever maiden questions, “Why?” In 1982 Pandora retailed for $265 and was then retired sometime between 1983 and 1988.
Cybis created this blue version for a Brielle Galleries event, described simply as Pandora in blue. This was another piece that was once in my collection, and I preferred it to the retail version because the blue is softer and was consistent throughout. In fact I never bought the regular version because I didn’t like the dark blue that Cybis used on her shoes and hair bow! So when I learned that she was being done in this colorway for Brielle’s semiannual Cybis “party”, I jumped at the chance; to the best of my recollection she was priced at $150.
This special variation named April was created as a numbered issue of 400 for a one-day Cybis event at Zelden’s Galleries in California on April 30, 1983. She was available only at that event and sold for $345. She is one of the few special event editions that was given a unique specific name. It’s not known whether the standard retail edition of Pandora had already been retired when this piece was offered.
Personally I think all three of the ‘pink/blue switcheroo’ sculptures are even more attractive than their original counterparts, which is not always an easy thing to accomplish when dealing with changed colorways. In the immortal words of Siskel & Ebert: “Thumbs up” to them all!
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