This charming terracotta statue of a woman tennis player was made by the ceramics studio of Cesare Poli and Anna Bacci. Founded in the Tuscan town of Pietrasanta in the 1950's, their workshop produced figural and animal statues until 1980. Signore Poli died in 1983; his son Ivo took over the company, naming it "Ceramiche Poli," producing classical vases, pots and tiles.
Poli figurines of people are dressed for various occupations and sports, such as this whimsical woman dressed in her tennis whites, a ball in her left hand and a racket in her right. She is completely hand painted, right down to her feathery eyelashes and red lips. Her tall, slim, attenuated body is so 1960's (remember Twiggy?). We've seen another version of this figurine that has less detail (for example, no painted laces on her shoes) and the racket is yellow. That statue also does not have what would probably be described today as a "wardrobe malfunction": the pink nipples showing through her sweater.
This lovely lass stands 8 1/2 inches tall and measures about an inch wide at her waist. The 2 3/4 inch diameter round base is painted in a russet color and hand signed in black "Poli," as was his custom. The center of the bottom was painted white and is numbered 72/64 (the model number, not a date) and marked with the word ITALY. She's a great shelf sitter, weighing only 6 ounces, but tall enough to hold her own on a tabletop. There are tiny streaks of paint loss on the base, with white paint showing through, but otherwise this figurine is in wonderful condition, with no chips or cracks. Whether you love tennis, mid century modern design or Italian ceramics, you'll be enchanted with this hand made statuette.
Note; These figurines by Cesare Poli sometimes have paper tags attached that read "T P Ceramiche" but we could not find any information about them. Since Poli's ceramics were made primarily for shipping abroad, this may have been the name of the export company.