Geppi’s Entertainment Museum mounts Carl Barks Disney art retrospective

'Return to Morgan's Island' by Carl Barks (creator of Scrooge McDuck), oil-on-Masonite, 1985, one of the famed Disney artist's paintings that will be on display at Geppi's Entertainment Museum, Baltimore, beginning July 17, 2009.

‘Return to Morgan’s Island’ by Carl Barks (creator of Scrooge McDuck), oil-on-Masonite, 1985, one of the famed Disney artist’s paintings that will be on display at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Baltimore, beginning July 17, 2009.

BALTIMORE – Drawing from the two largest privately held collections of paintings and other works by world-renowned Disney artist Carl Barks, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) in Baltimore will host the largest exhibit ever assembled of the late Disney creator’s compositions from Friday, July 17 to Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.

A significant percentage of the master’s 125 oil-on-Masonite paintings will be joined by preliminaries, studies, statues and comic book pages for this exclusive exhibit. GEM will also host a sale of Barks originals, lithographs, statues and Barks-themed items by Diamond International Galleries during this same period.

Among the pieces being exhibited are many on loan from the private collections of Kerby Confer and GEM founder Steve Geppi, widely regarded as the two most extensive representations of Carl Barks’ paintings and other works.

Before he retired from his comic book career in 1966 and turned to painting, Carl Barks had established himself with Disney fans the world over. He is remembered as a master storyteller, and is impact on storytelling in comic books – and not just Disney comics – is difficult to overstate.

While in most cases in the long history of Disney comic books, stories on the printed page has followed characters first seen on movie or television screens, his creations actually sprang from the comic book world before going onto the other mediums. His most famous creation is Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck’s notoriously thrifty uncle. He also created the town of Duckburg and its residents such as Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and Magica De Spell, among many others.

His paintings are in many of the top collections in the world and have long brought six-figure prices when offered for sale. Exhibits of his work have been staged in Europe and the United States, but this will be the first one encompassing so many of his originals.

Barks, who was born March 27, 1901 and passed away August 25, 2000, wasn’t just any comic book artist. After a relative brief stint as a Disney studio illustrator, he turned to comic books. Because his work appeared under Walt Disney’s byline (as did all Disney comic strip and comic book art in those days, at least in America), his fans only got to know him by his work…but know him they indeed did. Signed or not, they knew the work of the man they called “The Good Duck Artist” when they saw it.

His “retirement” kept him busy for more than 30 years, as he famously painted a series of highly sought-after paintings (oil on Masonite was his typical medium). The pieces usually featured the familiar Disney characters, but even when they didn’t things were interesting. A master of lighting, colors and composition, Barks found new ways to push his understanding of art and never lost his own curiosity about it.

Additional details, including hotels offering discounted room rates, will be released soon.

With a special focus on comic characters, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, 301 West Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, is dedicated to showcasing the history of popular culture in the United States since 1776. Its walkthrough timeline offers a step-by-step tour through pop culture history, highlighting its inexorable link with general history and investigating how it has been marketed to children. GEM may be contacted by phone at 410-625-7060 or online at