The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature

November 7, 2021 — January 21, 2023

The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo. Photo: Jenna Bascom

GREENWICH, CT, November 2, 2021 –The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature will wow Bruce Museum audiences beginning November 7.  The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature displays an impressive collection of contemporary art created by more than ten international artists, coordinated by New York collector, maker, and arts patron Joanna Fisher.  With a fifteenth-century classical exterior and ten rooms filled with an eclectic range of historical and contemporary craft, art, and design rendered in miniature, the dollhouse is a crowning jewel in the Bruce Museum’s longstanding tradition of bringing miniatures to the masses. 

Fisher conceived of the dollhouse in response to the lockdown required by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like so many, she was housebound and the dollhouse project offered Fisher a form of therapy: it provided a safe haven and, with ever-inward retreat during quarantine, an escape. “’The House Within’ is how I think about this project. A place people can go to in their minds,” said Fisher. “This was born in the pandemic. An emotional home I found within myself. A safe place created in my imagination. That is how this came to be.” 

Inspired by Venice’s glamorous Gritti Palace, Fisher enlisted the talents of dozens of celebrated craftspersons, designers, artisans, and artists. The house itself was made by British set designer Holly Jo Beck. The stunning Murano-style glass chandelier came from glass artists Mario Ramos and Mariana Grande in Madrid. A painted bombe chest and bust of Julius Caesar are by David Castillo, a miniaturist in Barcelona. Fred Cobbs, a revered miniature metalworker in Georgia, made a range of tools and other items, from a watering can to a wine vat to an espresso machine. Fisher even sourced local Greenwich, CT-based dollhouse shop Whimsies to round out her rooms.  Perhaps most extraordinary are the miniature works of contemporary art created by ten prominent international artists, among them Dustin Yellin, Ryan McGinness, Hunt Slonem, and Veronica Gaido.

“The Bruce Museum has exhibited small-scale works of art and miniatures for over thirty-five years and we’re delighted that The Fisher Dollhouse has joined the timeline of that tradition,” stated Robert Wolterstorff, the Susan E. Lynch Executive Director of the Bruce Museum.  “Our visitors will be fascinated with the intricacy of the work, and we are so thankful for Joanna Fisher’s willingness to so generously share this piece with our community,” Wolterstorff noted.

Collector Joanna Fisher with The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo. 

The Fisher Dollhouse installation also includes exquisite replicas of a festival tent, a gallery tent, and a grotto tent containing micro artworks and other whimsical details that reward close looking. Further, the Bruce Museum worked with curator Caroline Hannah and organizer Hendrik Gerrits, to include enriching interactives, including video details and enlarged imagery.

Coinciding with the long-awaited reopening of the Bruce’s permanent natural history galleries, and a brand-new show that showcases the Museum’s collection of art from Native Nations, The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature exhibition promises to be a stunning highlight of the Bruce Museum’s fall program that will enchant visitors of all ages.

The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo. Photo: Jenna Bascom