The Walt Disney Family Museum‘s Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair art exhibit in San Francisco closed last weekend, but I was able to go 3 weeks before it made its grand exit! I had been dying to go to this exhibit since they first announced it last year, so I made sure my bum got down to the museum because I’m completely in love and in awe of Mary Blair’s art! I’m sure I’ve mentioned what a huge fan I am of her on numerous occasions here, but I digress.
If you’re not familiar with her, she’s very well known for her bright and cheery concept art for Disney movies (Saludos Amigos, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan), designing It’s a Small World (yes, that ride that you either love or hate at Disneyland. And I wore a Small World inspired outfit for the exhibit too which included my It’s a Small World bag by LeSportsac!), and illustrating children’s books (notably I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss).
Magic, Color, Flair was a retrospective of her work which was utterly fascinating because I’ve only really ever been exposed to the art she’s done for Disney and children’s books. Her earlier work was gorgeous and vibrant, and a bit more realistic than the whimsical art that I grew to adore (you’ll see down below).
I went snap-happy with my camera and took pictures of EVERYTHING. So hopefully people who would’ve love to have gone but couldn’t make it may stumble upon this post. And I hope you all enjoy it too, my little ponies! 🙂
In case you’re wondering what the small text by her photograph says:
Mary Blair (1911-1978) was one of Walt Disney’s most original, beloved, and influential art directors. A protean and prolific painter, designer, and colorist, she found artistic expression in a variety of media, including film production designs; fine art watercolors, print illustrations and advertisements: and large-scale, three-dimensional theme park attractions.
The aim of Magic Color Flair: the world of Mary Blair is to reveal and explore Blair’s artistic process and development. The most obvious aspect of her body of work is sparkling graphic inventiveness and a brilliant color sense that dazzles the eye. But there is also in her art an emotional component – an empathetic identification with characters and situations — that appeals directly to the heart. Disney animation features director Wilfred Jackson’s comment touches upon that a special element in Blair’s creations. The exhibition investigates the sources of her art’s visual and emotional qualities — which melded together, make Blair’s work uniquely appealing.
The nearly two hundred works shown here offer a full and balanced overview of Blair’s almost half century of achievements before, during, and after her Walt Disney tenure.
– John Canemaker
I’m not able to show you the nearly two hundred works that I took pictures of, but I did my best to include the pieces that I enjoyed and to also make it feel as if you saw the exhibit yourself 🙂
The clipping next to this horse design says:
Miss Mary Robinson, second year student at Chouinard Art School experienced the thrill of a lifetime when she picked up a current issue of a national magazine to find on the back cover advertisement her winning design in the annual Art Alliance competition.
The competition, which is national in scope, is conducted in the spring but this is the first time that the design had been made public by the company for which it was made. Miss Robinson’s work is called the Trojan Horse design and was made for bath mat, bath towel, small towel, and face cloth for a towel company. She received a $100 award and she competed with thousands of art students and professional artists as well.
According to Mrs. Chouinard, director of the school, the purpose of the competition is to build up interest among artists in this country in types of commercial and industrial design which heretofore have been done during have been done mostly by Europeans. This is the fifth time that a student of this school had won first prize in this competition.
^ This is the cover of a music book and I actually found a beaten up copy of it in my parent’s garage last year! SQUEE!!!
In 1962, Blair created paper sculptures for department store Bonwit Teller’s display windows. Below is one of the sculptures she designed.