Disney ‘Small World’ concept art gets big price at Heritage Auctions

Mary Blair’s 1964 castle facade concept painting for Disneyland’s famous It’s a Small World attraction sold for $66,000. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

DALLAS – It took a big bid for the castle facade concept art for the It’s a Small World Disneyland attraction to set the all-time record for the highest grossing Animation Art auction. The sale surpassed $2 million, setting a house record in winning bids for its June 15-16 event.

An important group of rare art from Lady and Tramp proved popular. The auction successfully featured art from every animation studio, including Hanna-Barbera Productions, Warner Bros., artwork by the legendary Bill Melendez, MGM and more, with strong sale results across the board.

Collectors sought early concept art for Walt Disney theme park attractions and films. Artist Mary Blair’s 1964 concept painting for Disneyland’s famous It’s a Small World attraction (above) sold for $66,000 against a $10,000 estimate. The piece set a new world artist auction record for Blair’s work, beating the previous $60,000 world record set by Heritage in 2018.

Among Blair’s most iconic artwork, generating top bids was a Cinderella coach and castle concept/color key painting, completed in 1950, which sold for $38,400. An Alice and flowers concept painting for Alice in Wonderland sold for $31,200, a surfers concept painting for It’s a Small World ended at $28,800, and paintings for key scenes in the 1950 film Cinderella and a serene concept painting for the feature film So Dear to My Heart, sold for $22,800 and $21,600, respectively.

Mary Blair ‘Cinderella’ coach and castle concept/color key painting (Walt Disney, 1950). Price realized: $38,400. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

Additional concept paintings for Disney classics, such as Gustaf Tenggren’s painting for Bambi, sold for $31,200, and an Eyvind Earle painting for Sleeping Beauty, featuring a beautiful Princess Aurora, sold for $24,000.

‘Bambi’ concept painting by Gustaf Tenggren (Walt Disney, 1942). Price realized: $31,200. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

Hand-painted cels from fan favorite productions brought several bids:

– A production/color model cels and key master pan background for the 1937 feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sold for $32,400.

– Cels from beloved Peanuts holiday programs generated multiple bids as a pair of 1965 production cels from A Charlie Brown Christmas, by master animator Bill Melendez, sold for $18,600. Two highly desirable production cels featuring Snoopy depicted as the Red Baron flying ace from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown sold for $16,800.

Peanuts ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’/‘It’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown’ Snoopy and Charlie Brown production cels display by Bill Melendez, 1966/69. Price realized: $16,800. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

– A 1933 production cel and key master background for the iconic Mickey Mouse film The Mad Doctor sold for $14,400.

– Winsor McCay’s 1914 animation drawing of Gertie the dinosaur, an important piece of inked production artwork from the early landmark animated short, sold for $13,200.

Additional highlights from the auction include:

– An embellished portrait print of the for Quicksand Stretching Room from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion sold for $28,800.

– A poster for Disneyland’s Santa Fe Railroad park attraction from 1958 ended at $15,000.

– A circa 1960s original maquette used to design the Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean attraction brought $11,400.