Manny P. here…
The Walt Disney Family Museum is currently presenting an exhibition depicting modern images of Lewis Carrolls’ Alice in Wonderland. The main focus of the exhibit is the recent handiwork of Camille Rose Garcia. Adding historical perspective, Alice in Wonderland conceptual paintings by Disney artist Mary Blair from the Museum’s collection. This delight to the visual senses are on display through November 3rd.
Walt Disney’s conceptual artistry for over three decades included the imaginative effort of Mary Blair. Her fine work influenced Walt’s animated productions and the look and style of his theme parks. Historians have compared her post-modern genius to the iconic art by Lost Generation painters who lived in Paris during the 1920s. MARY BLAIR ->
Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, Blair won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After graduation in 1933, at the height of the Depression, she took a job in the animation unit at MGM, rather than pursue her dream of a fine arts career. Blair was hired by the Walt Disney Studios in 1940, and assigned a number of projects. In 1941, she joined an expedition that toured Mexico and South America. She painted with watercolors, inspiring Disney to name her art supervisor on The Three Caballeros and on Saludos Amigos. Blair influenced Disney’s postwar productions, such as Song of the South, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and Cinderella.
In 1964, Walt asked Blair to assist in the design of the It’s a Small World attraction. Over the years, she contributed to the style of many exhibits at the theme parks in California and Florida, including fanciful murals in the Grand Canyon Concourse at Walt Disney World Resort.
She was credited as the color designer on the 1968 cinematic version of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Mary Blair died in 1978.
Though her art veers away from naturalism toward abstraction, Blair was one of Disney’s favorite artists. He personally responded to the use of color, naïve graphics, and a storytelling aspect in her pictures. Her bold and ground-breaking color design still inspires many of today’s contemporary designers and animators. She was recognized with a posthumous Disney Legend award in 1991.
Until next time> “never forget”