BOSTON – Rare original Walt Disney Studios concept art is featured in the August Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from Boston-based RR Auction with online bidding through August 8. The fully illustrated auction catalog can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers.
Highlights include an original panoramic concept painting by Eyvind Earle for Lady and the Tramp (above), depicting the two dogs seated and overlooking a gorgeous waterfront with a steepled backdrop and starry sky, a scene which would inspire the film’s romantic “Bella Notte” sequence. Accomplished in tempera on artist’s board, signed in the lower right corner in paint, “Eyvind Earle.”
Another by Earle is an original panoramic concept painting featuring Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, showing the evil sorceress on top of her immense castle tower, getting ready to turn into the dragon. Accomplished in tempera on artist’s board, signed in the lower right corner in paint, “Eyvind Earle.” Disney artist Eyvind Earle was Sleeping Beauty’s production designer, and Disney gave him a significant amount of freedom in designing the settings and selecting colors for the film. Earle also painted the majority of the backgrounds himself, and his stylistic influence is readily apparent in the final product.
Another auction highlight is an exquisite original concept painting by Mary Blair for Cinderella, showing the title character fleeing from the castle in her white ball gown, with her lead foot bare and a single glass slipper left glowing on the staircase. An impressive rendering of the interior castle just moments before midnight, Blair highlights the room in gorgeous purple detail, adding chandelier, balustrades, floor pattern and castle guards.
Blair was a concept artist for Disney during the 1940s and early 1950s, working on designs for such films as Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland. She also created designs for several Disney attractions (including It’s a Small World), and her largest work ever, the multi-story mosaic in Disney World’s Contemporary Hotel concourse.
Also up are two early concept design for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride by Marc Davis. The painting depicts a pair of pirates aboard a sinking jolly boat, one man still rowing and the other perched atop the bow, with their loot, several jugs of rum, floating away. Davis captures the otherwise desperate scene with great humor and detail, as neither pirate appears overly concerned with their gloomy predicament or the loss of their alcoholic bounty, and the artwork’s bold style and carefree temperament is in keeping with that of the long-running attraction and Disney’s blockbuster film series. The work is done in ink and watercolor on untrimmed heavyweight art paper, with Davis signing in pencil in the lower right.
The other painting by Davis, depicting a pair of startled crewmen as they discover a menacing pirate hunkered below a large waving Jolly Roger. Davis captures the scene brilliantly, with the pirate’s bright outfit dominating the ship’s otherwise gloomy deck, a blast of color sure to surprise even the most fearless of sailors. It is accomplished in watercolor on untrimmed heavyweight art paper.
One of Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” the legendary core animators of early Disney films, Davis joined Disney in 1935 as an apprentice animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He continued to work on classic films like Bambi, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland, and then later transferred to Disney’s Imagineering team where he contributed whimsical story and character concepts for Disneyland attractions like the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Davis is probably best known as the father of some of Disney’s most memorable animated women, including Cruella De Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and Tinker Bell from Peter Pan.
The Animation section contains 194 animation lots, among them 140 Walt Disney related items. The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began July 20 and will conclude Aug. 8. Details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.