A close friend of post-war American designers George Nelson, and Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard had a love of traditional folk art, toys and miniatures coupled with an adventurous sense of colour. Girard designed everything from architecture to furniture and textiles, and in 1963 started making wodden dolls inpired by a growing collection of art from Mexico, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Born in New York City and raised in Florence, Girard was educated in Europe as an architect. In 1952, Girard joined Herman Miller as their Director of Design in the textiles division and worked there for more than 20 years. It was here that he introduced his love of colour to the collection at a time when colour was muted and safe.
By 1962 Girard's collection of folk art had grown to over 100,000 pieces, and today the collection held at the Museum of International Folk Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico, represents the most comprehensive example of cross-cultural folk art in the world. Girard's own collection of 11 Wooden Dolls is now produced by the Vitra Design Museum.