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In memory of Diane Disney Miller

Magic Color Flair

EXhibitioN CUrator


March 13SePtember 7, 2014 The Walt DiSNey Family MUSeUm SaN FraNciSco, CaliforNia


share with you Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair, the catalog for the retrospective exhibition at The Walt Disney Family Museum. The exhibition explores the career of one of Walts most beloved designers and art directors, and one of the most influential women in animation: Mary Blair. The exhibition opens in MarchWomens History Monthto honor Blair as one of the immensely talented female artists who, in the early days of animation at the Walt Disney Studios, helped crack the celluloid ceiling and pave the way for todays women animators, story artists, writers, and directors. If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man, Walt Disney famously declared in a speech to his employees in February 1941. The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men, and I honestly believe they may eventually contribute something to this business that men never would or could. Less than a year later, Walts premonition about the incredible possibilities for women at Disney was realized in Mary Blair. On the Good Neighbor policy tour with a group of artists traveling through South America to illustrate its people and ways of life, Blair developed the unique and incredibly arresting, captivatingly colorful style for which shes known today. Once back stateside, her new aesthetic found expression in the animation department at the Studios, where her lush color choices and charming, fresh art direction heavily influenced the look and feel of Disney films for almost thirty years. And later in her life, after a robust career as a freelance illustrator, Blair rejoined forces with Walt to create dazzling murals and interactive displays, demonstrating that women could not only do the work and do it well, but that they also could chart new and imaginative territories in the world of art and design. The Walt Disney Family Museum is fortunate to have many exceptional pieces of Blairs artwork and personal artifacts due to the commitment of Diane Disney
it briNGS me Great PleaSUre to

Miller, Walts daughter and The Walt Disney Family Museums co-founder, to acquire these pieces for our permanent collection, and also due to the generosity of our dear friends and Blairs nieces, Maggie Richardson and Jeanne Chamberlain, who have loaned even more beautiful works for this exhibition. In addition to sketchbooks kept during her South America trip and stunning concept art for Disney films such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, the museum is also happy to permanently host Blairs paint standcomplete with her trusty brushes, favorite paints, and stylish eyeglassesas a shrine to our lady of flair. But beyond Blairs immeasurable gifts to the animation world and her status as one of the industrys first female icons, she herself was a treasure to Walt and his family. John Canemaker, exhibition curator, noted expert on Blairs lifework, and friend to the museum, has concluded that, Of all his artists, this female artist was Walts favorite. Her work even hung in the Disney family home in Los Angeles where Diane Disney Miller grew up. Sadly, Diane passed away before the opening of this exhibition, but we know that she would have been delighted to see the brilliant hues and sparkling inventiveness of Blairs work on the museum walls, as well as the joy experienced by our guests. It was Dianes vision to honor her fathers favorite artiststo preserve their work and share their talents with the public. With this exhibition and those to come, we loyally keep her legacy alive. This catalog is dedicated to her memory.

Kirsten Komoroske Executive Director The Walt Disney Family Museum

Mary Blair, circa 1941

CreatiNG New world S

This is the most interesting job Ive ever had. [The] results are more delightful than anything Ive tried before.1 MARY BlAIR regarding its a small world, 1964 Disney Studio, the printing press supplanted the cinema as the medium for the reproduction of her colorful art, American Artist magazine reported.2 Actually, the print medium was but one of a variety of outlets for her adaptable talents from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s. For example, she created more than twenty semiabstract designs for handkerchiefs and scarfs manufactured by Carol Stanley Studios, New York, which sold in Lord & Taylor and other specialty-retail upscale department stores. Also for Lord & Taylor and branches in 1964, she designed womens suits and dresses for the stores Beverly Paige label. She designed sets for lavish Christmas and Easter pageants produced by Leon Leonidoff at Radio City Music Hall, and for an unproduced Broadway musical with a Duke Ellington score titled Cole Black and the Seven Dwarfs. In June 1962, she constructed paper sculptures for Bonwit Tellers chic store windows on Fifth Avenue. She also designed TV commercials for Pepsodent toothpaste, Meadow Gold Ice Cream, and other products through her husbands film production company. David Swift, a former Disney animator and later the director of Disney live-action films, such as Polyanna (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961), hired Mary Blair as Color Designer for the live-action film adaptation of the Broadway hit musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967). In the print medium, in addition to greeting cards and magazines, Mary Blairs most widely seen illustrations were advertisements for national brands, including Nabisco, Johnson & Johnson, Beatrice Foods, Maxwell House coffee (utilizing twenty-four-sheet billboard posters), Meadow Gold Ice Cream, Blue Bell childrens clothes, and Bakers Instant Cocoa, among other products. A dozen Pall Mall cigarette ads, in a striking poster-like design, ran in two national campaigns. Each ad features the familiar red cigarette pack surrounded by foodgrapes, grapefruit, apples, pears, a shrimp cocktail, even a lobster (because Pall Mall is So friendly to your taste!). In a rare, if oblique, statement
Mary Blair stands before her Tomorrowland mural design Disneyland, circa 1967

WheN Mary Blair left the


regarding a modern art influence on her work, Blair noted in a letter to Ross Care that the thick black line she painted around the cigarette pack incidentally came from inspiration that the SSC&B [ad agency] art director, Joe Franchina, received upon seeing the Picasso exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. In the same letter is a second Picasso reference: The question as to the changing design trend at the time I went to work at Disney might be compared to the work of an individual artist. They all evolve and change styles as time passes. Take Picasso as an example.3 Among her most long-lasting and beloved print ventures are the whimsical illustrations she created for the childrens book genre, namely Golden Books. For more than fifty years her illustrated books have enchanted young readers, who pass them on (originals and reprints) to subsequent generations. Mary Blair had already illustrated two of her five Golden Books before she left the Disney Studio, another indication (along with being allowed to work from home) of how privileged and special she was in Walts eyes. She freelanced for Golden Books, along with a group of other former animation associates (mostly from Disney) who had moved to the East Coast, including John Parr Miller, Martin and Alice Provensen, Aurelius Battaglia, and Gustaf Tenggren. For them, Golden Books was not only a source of income but a vehicle for artistic expression.4 [Blairs] colleagues all painted and drew in highly individualistic styles that nonetheless reflected some of the major tendencies in postwar graphic art and design, writes historian Leonard S. Marcus in Golden Legacy. Deftly straddling the line between traditional representation and modernist abstraction, each of these inventive artists strove for an airy lightness and brightness of being-on-the-page that belonged to the new streamlined age of glass-box skyscrapers, ribbon highways, and casual middle-class suburban living. Festive colors applied in bold, surprising combinations made simply opening one of their books a challenging as well as playful adventure.5 Selected original illustrations in this exhibition include Mary Blairs Babys House (1950), I Can Fly (1950), The Golden Book of Little Verses (1953), The New Golden Song Book (1955), and The Up and Down Book (1964). In each, her

bountiful imagination and magical imagery are showcased in paintings that are inventive in layout, color, and superb technical craftsmanship. Her first book, Babys House (written by Gelolo McHugh) is suffused with a fascination with children and the joys of parenthood. (The Blairs second child was born the year of the books publication, which may have something to do with the exuberance of her illustrations, visible on pages 136137.) The New York Times lauded Babys House for portraying the young childs satisfaction in everyday objects as Baby marches through his house, making a joyful inventory of those things that are important in the first years of life.6 The illustrations for I Can Fly (which was written by Ruth Krauss and also published in 1950) reflect Blairs animation experience: The little girl mimics the action and poses of animals she encounters, as the images on pages 132135 show. The book was an even bigger success: The New York Herald Tribune awarded it a Picture Book Honor at the 1951 Childrens Spring Book Festival and it has remained in print for more than sixty years. Readers of all ages were (and continue to be) delighted by the inquisitive little girl in the story. In 1960, Jacqueline Kennedy wrote Blair a personal note from the White House to say that I Can Fly is one of her three-year-old daughter Carolines favorite books.7 Blairs delicate whimsy and inventiveness found an expansive outlet in Golden Books. In The Golden Book of Little Verses, for example, bees are busy and sleepy, and worm/centipede cousins enjoy high tea underneath a flower garden. The costumed insects are individuated with charming anthropomorphism and more than a dollop of humor (see page 140). Interesting, too, is the dry brush painting technique Blair uses to add texture to the ground and flower petals and, of course, her balancing of intense and neutral colors. Art director Fred Cline, who knew Lee and Mary Blair in their later years, notes that her color juxtaposition is very pleasing, but very unusual. The work has a graphic sense, but not a hard feeling. The shapes are organic and she rubs tones to give some dimension. But she doesnt explain dimension in a logical way.8 Her book deadlines were less intense than those of animated feature film productions. For films, she painted (in an animators frame of mind) many, many variations to suggest ideas for staging, character poses, camera angles, and settings. Some of her small paintings for Alice in Wonderland appear to have been



rapidly, almost feverishly, turned out due to tight production exigencies or the need to get story and color dreams out of her head and onto paper. Absent, too, in the Golden Books were pressures to visualize narratives containing high drama, low comedy, and a variety of emotions. Instead, her brief for the kids books was to gently evoke a childs wonder, sense of fun, and curiosity about the world. Blair invests her books with subtle messages touting cooperation and inventiveness; using your imagination; and being kind and gentle to playmates both human and animal. Her images glow with optimism, warmth,
Illustration The Up and Down Book (Golden Book), 1964 1 opaque watercolor on illustration board | 121 3 x 13 4 inches

and playfulness. It is an insular world, in which sadness and anger are emotional notes not played, except inadvertently. In Little Verses, for example, a lost doll resembling a broken Tim Burton puppet lies in a cold field among black beetles, observed by a spooky white rabbit. More often, a dark background is inevitably set off by joyful activity in the foreground; as in a two-page spread of kids blowing pastel-hued bubbles alongside playful kittens and a flock of small colorful birds (see page 141). After seeing Mary Blairs colors and her mesmerizing Golden Book pictures, many a child became interested in art; indeed, because of this early exposure, numerous children were inspired to pursue a career in art. The preliminary and final illustrations in this exhibition for The Up and Down Book, Blairs last Golden Book, allow another glimpse into her creative process (shown here and on pages 142147). Spidery, tentative pencil lines form the initial idea sketches, cautious as all inspirational sketches are when the lightbulb in the artists mind begins to glow. In the finished paintings, however, all signs of hesitancy have fled. Now, strong thick lines surround the child characters made from simple geometric shapes and bold straight-from-the-tube colors. There is an in-your-face feeling of children (and the artist) letting go, playing,
Thumbnail sketch The Up and Down Book (Golden Book), 1964 graphite and ink on onionskin paper | 11 x 14 inches


having fun, making lots of noise! The loud, posteresque look is reminiscent of certain Blair advertising assignments and especially the collages she made for its a small world, which was completed the same year (1964) that The Up and Down Book was published. In 1963, Walt Disney came back into Blairs life like a benevolent uncle laden with exciting gifts for a favorite but neglected niece. What Walt offered Mary for the next three years was a series of creative challenges that would bring her art to a new and literally large level. Her first assignment was a project for the 1964 New York Worlds Fair: a musical boat ride with mechanical dolls representing the children of the worlda symbol of international unity, goodwill, and global peace. Walt decided that its a small world was an opportunity to stretch the creative muscles of his Imagineers, the team who contributed to the success of Disneyland (which opened in 1955), and he wanted Mary Blair and her designs to lead the way. She was motivated by several factors: First, Walt personally chose her and offered his confidence and trust; second, it was a project involving children; and, finally, her designs would be showcased in a new dimensional form over which she would maintain creative carte blanche. After meetings at the studio in Burbank, Blair returned to her home studio in Great Neck, Long Island, ready to stretch her creative muscles. Soon she was regularly sending to the West Coast a remarkable series of collage designs that astonished her Imagineering colleagues. This stuff started pouring in. Just wonderful! marveled her friend and coworker Rolly Crump. It was the single biggest project that was ever given to her and she was able to just go nuts! In dozens of brilliantly colored assemblages, she combined wallpaper cuttings, colored paper, cellophane, and acrylics in interlocking geometric and organic shapes to bring a small world to life. Blairs collages, comments Karal Ann Marling, were like Frank Lloyd Wright married to Andy Warhol!9 For Walt, who never gave up on anything, It was the climax, noted Ben Sharpsteen (Disney director and producer) of all the years that [he] spent trying to bring Mary Blairs influence into his productions. For Mary Blair, as Crump put it, It was like shed died and gone to heaven.10 I guess you could call it theatre-in-the-round, but its really much more, Blair told a reporter, explaining the rides interactive combination of audioanimatronic dolls, music, and audience participation.

that she designedand speaking in a husky voiceover, she demonstrates how she designed the eye clinic mural. In those precomputer days, the techniques for transferring small sketches to a large mural were painstakingly ponderous and slow, involving manually moving slide projectors and making vellum paper drawings on-site to scale. Here a narrator in the film explains: First, the small original sketch had to be enlarged to a full-size drawing. These grid squares represent the individual tiles, which would compose the finished mural. Now Mary projected a transparency of the original art full-scale directly on the paper to be drawn upon. The projector was moved back and forth to adjust the size. First small drawings of the children were enlarged for accurate placement on the lines of the grid. Mary Blairs voiceover explains her techniques while performing them: In planning a mural such as this, the first consideration is the area in which it will be installed. The surrounding colors and light sources will influence both color and design. Perhaps most important is the medium in which the work will be executed. In this case, ceramic tile. The startling thing about working in ceramics is the great brilliance and clarity of the finished color. I have often compared it to the brilliance of a watercolor while still wet. But it is difficult to put on paper the idea that you know will eventually appear in the brilliant ceramic glazes, and the artist must keep his concept clearly in his mind as he designs. Enlarging a small sketch to such great size is much more than a mechanical process. The dimensions must be enlarged accurately, but there is a great difference between a 20-inch design and a 20-foot one. The large expansion becomes an original work in itself and the creative processes must continue through to its completion.13 After years of innovation and delighting people all over the world, Walt Disney, Mary Blairs champion, died on December 15, 1966. When he died Mary was


The audience travels right through it in small boats, seeing its five main areas unfold as the boat floats along a serpentine canal. The audience moves, the performers move, and everyoneespecially the childrenseem to have a grand time.11 Blairs its a small world attraction and (its title song) was an immediate hit. When the attraction was duplicated in Disneyland in 1966 and Walt Disney World in 1971, Blair made dozens more collages for exteriors and new scenes. In the Walt Disney Family Museum exhibition are two prototype dolls for its a small world, as well as two unusual items cocreated by Mary Blair and Rolly Crump during the installation of the boat ride attraction at the Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Supervising the opening of wooden boxes containing the dolls and props and answering the staffs occasional questions, the two artists soon grew bored. Suddenly Mary and I decided wed start painting because we didnt have anything to do, Crump said.
Preliminary design for Europe its a small world, 1964 opaque watercolor on paper | 10 x 13 inches

Using the wooden box lids as canvases, they shared layout and coloring duties on five spontaneous dimensional paintings. We did it as a team, Crump recalls. Then we glued some stuff on for hair. The hair came from a box Crump sent containing extra glitter, jewels, and paint, in case anything got hurt or broken. On the boxs cover he wrote Instant Small World. Just Add Gin. She and I had a delightful time, Crumb recalls. It was absolutely marvelous. I loved her dearly.12 Walt and Marys next big project was unveiled in November 1966 at the new Jules Stein Eye Institute at the UCLA Center for Health Sciences. In the childrens section of the outpatient clinic, Blair designed a large (220-square-foot) mural of fired clay tiles in transparent colors. The design incorporates the door to the examination room and depicts happy children from around the world, a friendly welcome to ameliorate young patients going-to-the-doctor fears. The Ceramic Mural, a 16mm educational film released in 1967, is a valuable and rare document of Mary Blair discussing and showing her step-by-step creative process. Appearing on cameraattractive, cool, and chic in clothes
Ceramic mural by Mary Blair at The Jules Stein Eye Institute childrens ward, circa 1966

destroyed, Gyo Fujikawa, the well-known childrens book illustrator observed. So sad and unhappy. She wept.14 Mary remembered Walt as one of the most wonderful men in the world. He was a family man, and he was willing to go along with all my commuting expense . . . Walt had a great deal of courage in starting new projects and in encouraging talent. He knew talent when he found it. Before he died, Walt arranged to involve her in designing large-scale projects into the early 1970s.15 Two such projects include huge Mary Blair murals (54 feet in length and 15 feet high) that face each other on two buildings (Adventures Through Inner Space and the Bell System CircleVision), built in the summer of 1967 for Tomorrowland at Disneyland. The corridor of textured ceramic tile murals was titled The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children. Here Walt saw Blairs stylizations capable of conveying reassuring messages about global communication and scientific advancements in satellites and solar and wind energy.16 The last of Blairs large-scale ceramic murals is located inside the Contemporary Resort Hotel at Walt Disney World in Florida, which opened in 1971. Eighteen-thousand hand-painted tiles appear on a 90-foot elevator shaft in a mosaic depicting American Indian children, flowers, and animals in settings and colors abstracted from the Grand Canyon. Blair found inspiration in Southwestern prehistoric rock pictographs, Pueblo murals and sand paintings, and her trips to Mexico three decades before. The Mary Blair child design, adapted from The Three Caballeros La Posadas, is ubiquitous in the work. Blairs special charm is on full display on the huge mural, as well as a playful mystery. Many visitors to the site wonder why a striped goat located near the top has five legs. The artist never explained herself, but in her research she may have discovered the Cheyenne Spirit Bead tradition. To Cheyenne tribeswomen, spending hundreds of hours creating geometric patterned artworks made of beads and quills was a spiritual act, a prayer to the Great Spirit. Intentionally they would weave or sew a wrong-colored bead into a perfect pattern as an act of humility, recognizing the inherent imperfection of humans. Presuming that a human could create something perfect would be an affront to the true perfection of the gods.17 Maggie Richardson, Blairs niece, recalls that her aunt Mary was always very spiritual . . . she would talk about [how] God is inside of you.18

The Contemporary Resort Hotel mural is a monumental work of art that takes ones breath away. It even did so to the artist: Of course I had seen the finished tiles laid out on a large table in sections as Interpace [tile division of Franciscan Ceramics] finished firing the final work, Blair recalled. When I eventually went to the opening of Disney World in Florida and walked into that giant concourse, my reaction was Ohwow! 19 With Blairs patron Walt Disney gone, no new commissions were forthcoming from the Disney company. In her last seven years, she made small personal artworks she called semi-dimensional paintings, which are part painting and part constructions. When there are enough of them I will have an exhibition possibly in San Francisco. However, illness and personal problems took a toll, and Mary died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 26, 1978, at age sixty-six. Funny thing about her, observed animator Preston Blair, Marys brother-inlaw, some years after her death, she started [out] drawing somewhat of the same thing as Leebig watercolor splashes. One thing she told me: I dont think I could draw another watercolor if I wanted to. Shed become accustomed to the design, and she was so successful at it. It [fine art watercolors] just wasnt her cup of tea anymore. She was very successful at being liked as an artist.20 To speculate on the road not takenwhat Mary Blair might have accomplished had she concentrated on fine art watercolors or ceramics or purely abstract artis futile and unnecessary. Mary Blair chose to focus her multitudinous artistic gifts in the commercial sphere. It was her original goal at Chouinard: to become an illustrator. Mary, who always knew what she wanted, as her sister Margaret often claimed, and was also very determined in a nice way, always got what she sought. Her artistic gifts, however, were so large, her versatility so encompassing, and her curiosity and bravery so bold, she went way beyond mere illustration to a major, diverse career in the areas of film, costumes, set design, fine art, animation concepts, advertisements and books, theme park attractions, ceramics, sculpture, and collage. To create ones own world takes courage, said Georgia OKeeffe. Mary Blairs fearless artistic sensibilities and magical paintbrush created an intense reality all her own. No matter the subject matter or medium, the feeling of joy that she took in her limitless creativity is palpable, and it continues to communicate and fascinate viewers of all ages all over the world. John Canemaker



Photo documenting the construction process of Mary Blairs mural for the Contemporary Resort Hotel, circa 1971

Learning the Rules

n this section of the exhibition are examples of work that Mary Blair (then known as Mary Robinson) made as a scholarship student at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Starting in the fall of 1931, she began working at the school with the wellknown American illustrator Pruett Carter, with whom she continued to study privately after graduation. Carters instruction in the art of composition and his rules for staging pictures and visualizing expressive emotions profoundly inuenced the young woman. He inspired her and encouraged her latent talent for dramatizing a scene, which came to fruition when she began working as a concept artist at the Walt Disney Studio. In addition, there are several paintings exhibited that Mary Robinson Blair made as a member of the California Water Color Society, a regionalist art movement dened by representational watercolors documenting everyday life on the Pacic Coast. The president of the Society, starting in 1935, was Marys husband, Lee Blair, a fellow Chouinard scholarship student, whom she wed in 1934. In both solo and group shows, the Blairs exhibited their work in the mid- to late 1930s. However, the need to augment their income led both artists to work at L.A. animation studios, including the Walt Disney Studio. Examples of Mary Blairs early Disney watercolor concept artworks include Dumbo (1941) and Baby Ballet, a never-produced segment for a 1941 addition to 1940s Fantasia.


Stormy Beach, circa 1930s 1 3 watercolor on paper | 21 2 x 26 4 inches



Elegy in a Country Churchyard, circa 1930s 2 1 watercolor on paper | 14 3 x 15 4 inches

Untitled, circa 1930s 1 1 watercolor on paper | 14 2 x 15 2 inches



Sick Call, circa 1930s 3 charcoal on paper | 1134 x 14 4 inches

The Lady in Red, circa 1930s 1 1 watercolor and ink on paper | 32 2 x 26 2 inches

Untitled (minister and lady in white), circa 1930s 2 1 watercolor on paper | 32 3 x 24 3 inches

Breaking the Rules


n August 1941, Lee and Mary Blair became part of a group of Disney Studio artists chosen by Walt Disney to travel with him to South America. It was during this time that Mary Blair developed her vibrant and colorful painting style, translating her feelings about the 1941 tour of South America into vital, brilliantly hued impressions with a heightened stylization. The observational skills, enormous empathy, and sense of wonder that found new expression on this trip are on full display in the two framed portraits of Peruvian children at left, which she painted during her visit to South America. They were among the few Disney artworks ever displayed in the Los Angeles home of Walt and Lillian Disney, an indication of how special Mary and her art were to Walt and his family. Walts discovery of Mary Blairs great and multitudinous artistic gifts during the 1941 South America tour led him to assign her numerous projects inside and outside the studio during the war and postwar years. On the following pages is imagery for diverse projects, such as the Latin American features Saludos Amigos (1943) and The Three Caballeros (1945); the omnibus features Make Mine Music (1946) and Melody Time (1948); the combination live-action and animation features Song of the South (1946) and So Dear to My Heart (1948); and the feature-length animations Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953). Blair traveled often during this period to Mexico, Cuba, Ireland, and areas of the United States to gather pictorial material, creating dynamic pieces that still capture the imagination today.


Peruvian girl, circa 1941 1 2 watercolor on paper | 10 4 x 7 3 inches

Peruvian boy, circa 1941 1 2 watercolor on paper | 10 4 x 7 3 inches



Visual development The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, 1949 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 7 x 8 inches

Visual development The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, 1949 1 opaque watercolor on paper | 8 x 9 2 inches



Visual development Cinderella, 1950 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 714 x 8 inches

Visual development Cinderella, 1950 1 1 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 6 2 x 8 2 inches


Visual development Cinderella, 1950 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 10 x 12 inches

Visual development Cinderella, 1950 1 1 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 12 2 x 15 2 inches



Visual development Peter Pan, 1953 1 7 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 7 4 x 7 8 inches

Visual development Peter Pan, 1953 2 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 7 3 x 834 inches



Visual development Peter Pan, 1953 opaque watercolor on paperboard | 81 3 x 181 8 inches


Preliminary design for South Seas its a small world, 1964 opaque watercolor on paper | 11 x 14 inches

Preliminary design for Europe its a small world, 1964 opaque watercolor on paper | 10 x 13 inches

Preliminary design collage its a small world, 1964 postcard | 4 x 6 inches

A rtwor K L e N der S

Published by The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, LLC. 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio San Francisco, CA 94129 No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, by any information storage and retrieval system, or by any other means, without written permission from the publisher. A production President, CEO Terry Newell VP, Sales Amy Kaneko VP, Publisher Roger Shaw Creative Director Kelly Booth Senior Editor Lucie Parker Art Director Lorraine Rath Designer Debbie Berne Image Coordinator Conor Buckley Production Director Chris Hemesath Associate Production Director Michelle Duggan Weldon Owen is a division of BONNIER All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Copyright 2014 The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, LLC. The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press is not affiliated with The Walt Disney Company or Disney Enterprises, Inc. Library of Congress Control Number: 2013957560 ISBN: 978-1-61628-793-1 ISBN: 1-61628-793-4 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Printed in China by Toppan Leefung.


Craig and Gisele Barto (photo courtesy of 50 Pam Burns-Clair Family: 103105 Jeanne Chamberlain (The Estate of Mary Blair): 161 (top left, middle, and bottom right) Jeanne Chamberlain and Maggie Richardson (The Estate of Mary Blair): 8, 16 (all but bottom center and bottom right), 17 (top right and bottom right) 20, 3536, 46, 53, 7375, 150159, 170 171, 175 Collection of Brian Bliss (photo courtesy of 51 California Institute of the Arts Institute Archive: 11 (top) John Canemaker: 55 Carroll Family Collection (photo courtesy of californiawatercolor. com): 14, 49 Fred Cline: 12, 4243 Alice Davis: 172173 Mike and Jeanne Glad: 17 (top right) Mike and Tammy Gabriel: 72 The Goldberg Collection: 4445 The Don Hahn Collection: 25, 80 81 Rudy and Debbie Lord: 40 Ron Lytle: 48 Gift of Ron and Diane Miller: 26, 28, 54, 62 (right), 85, 92, 9495, 97, 100 (right), 111113, 115117, 122 (left), 124125, 127129, 166 (left) Joanna Miller: 100 (left) Gift of Walter E. D. Miller: 87 Collection of Stuart Ng: 47 (right) Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators: 11 (bottom) Random House LLC: 2, 33 (left and center), 132, 134145, 148149 Maggie Richardson (The Estate of Mary Blair): 161 (bottom left and top right) James Tim Walker: 52 Walt Disney Family Foundation: 4, 6, 16 (bottom center), 19, 21, 22, 27, 30, 33 (right), 34, 60, 62 (left), 6371, 7678, 8284, 86, 8891, 93, 96, 98 99, 101102, 106 110, 114, 118121, 122 (right), 123 (right), 146147, 160 (top), 162 163, 165, 166 (right), 167169 The Walt Disney Company: 16 (bottom right), 17 (left top and bottom), 18 Mark and Lily Weissman: 47 (left)
A rtwor K C o P yri G ht H older S

Krauss, copyright 1951, copyright renewed 1979 by Random House); 136137 (Babys House by Gelolo McHugh, copyright 1950, copyright renewed 1978 by Random House); 138141 (The Golden Book of Little Verses by Miriam Clark Potter, copyright 1953, copyright renewed 1981 by Random House); 142147 (The Up and Down Book, copyright 1964, copyright renewed 1992 by Random House); 148 149 (The New Golden Songbook, copyright 1955, copyright renewed 1983 by Random House) Unknown: 11 (bottom)
A c K N owled G me N t S

All images are The Estate of Mary Blair except where noted below. Disney: 4, 15, 16 (center top and bottom, right bottom), 17 (top left and bottom left), 1822, 2428, 30 31, 34, 36, 5457, 6072, 74129, 155 (bottom row and top row center left), 160, 165171 Random House LLC: 2 (The New Golden Songbook, copyright 1955, copyright renewed 1983 by Random House); 33 (The Up and Down Book, copyright 1964, copyright renewed 1992 by Random House); 132135 (I Can Fly by Ruth

Diane Disney Miller, to whom I dedicate this catalog, originally proposed a Mary Blair exhibition for the Walt Disney Family Museum and offered me the exciting challenge of being its curator. Diane was always a positive leader and creative dynamo. I miss her and regret that she did not live to see the exhibition realized. I am grateful for the solid support and encouragement given to me from the beginning by Ron Miller, Dianes husband, and the Walt Disney Family Foundation. At the Walt Disney Family Museum, I have been most fortunate to work with a wonderful and dedicated team, including Kirsten Komoroske, executive director; Brenda Litzinger, registrar; Mary Beth Culler, public programs manager; John Stroh, manager of Audio-Visual; Hillary Lyden, interpretive coordinator; Caitlin Moneypenny-Johnston, marketing and communications manager; and Mark Gibson, digital assets manager. It was a pleasure to work closely with the indispensable and knowledgeable Michael Labrie, director of collections and exhibitions, and the gifted Marina Villar Delgado, exhibition and design manager, who designed a setting for Mary Blairs art that is at once playful and serene. A majority of Mary Blair concept paintings made for Disney films and several personal artifacts in the exhibition are from the collection of the Walt Disney Family Foundation. This extensive artwork of the WDFF has been augmented and additional light shed on Mary Blairs eclectic career through the generosity of several outside lenders, including: Richard J. Berenson, Society of Illustrators; Michael Johnson Fine Arts; Dave Tourje,

Chouinard Foundation; Diane Muldrow, editorial director, Golden Books/Random House; Brian and Pam Bliss; Rudy and Debbie Lord; Joanna Miller; Don Hahn; Craig and Gigi Barto; Eric and Susan Goldberg; Fred Cline; Joe and Leah Carroll; Mike Gabriel; Ron Lytle; Stuart Ng; Mark Weissman; James Tim Walker; Mike Glad; and Pam Burns-Clair. I am especially grateful to Maggie Richardson and Jeanne Chamberlain, the artists devoted nieces, for their enthusiastic contributions of additional loans of rare artworks and artifacts, and patient replies to my constant questions. For various kindnesses extended to me during the course of my work, I express warm thanks to Rolly Crump; Alice Davis; Ross Care; Neil Grauer; Michael Giaimo; Charles Solomon; Michael Barrier; J. B. Kaufman; Russell and Karen Merritt; Karal Ann Marling; Leonard S. Marcus; Ted Thomas and Kuniko Okubo Thomas; Dan Shefelman, assistant professor FIT; Karen Trivette Cannell, MLS, asstistant professor Head of Special Collections and FIT Archives, Fashion Institute of Technology SUNY; Karl and Denise Cohen; Kendall Haney; and Sheila M. Saxby. At Weldon Owen Publishing, it was a distinct pleasure to work with the superb team of Lucie Parker, senior lifestyle editor; Kelly Booth, creative director; Roger Shaw, vice-president and publisher; Lorraine Rath, art director; and the creative book designer Debbie Berne. Thanks to Robert Cornfield, for his cogent advice, as always. On the home front, I want to thank my husband, Joseph Kennedy, for his positive suggestions and all-enabling love. Weldon Owen would like to thank Emily Clark, Hilary Seeley, and Marisa Sols for editorial assistance; Rachel Lopez Metzger for design expertise; and John Lee/Artmix for original photography.