Mary Blair: Rare and Historic Paintings from the Legendary Concept Artist
“Emulated by many she remains inimitable: a dazzling sorceress of design and color.”-John Canemaker, on Mary Blair
Great American Ink has released several historically significant works of art by the artist Mary Blair from our archives. For more information and conversation about the art please contact Steve or Deac directly at 1-800-552-2847.
Mary Blair first gained recognition at Disney Studios with her vibrant concept art for 1945’s two South American features, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, followed by 1948’s Melody Time and The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad in 1949. Blair’s concept art for a trio of animated fairy tale classics- Cinderella (1950), Alice In Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953)- may be her best-known work.
Cinderella retains much of the romantic color palette and whimsical attitude found in Blair’s original concept sketches. Her ideas for mood and emotional colors are there as well.
Alice In Wonderland 1951
Alice In Wonderland was a project that Walt Disney had considered from his earliest days as a filmmaker. For the film, Walt turned to Mary to develop dozens of small concept paintings that are as exciting as anything in the Disney canon.
Blair’s artistic sensibility pervades Alice’s leaf patterns, shrubbery, settings, props, characters, costumes, and color. Blair envisioned Wonderland as a dark psychological dreamscape. Scenery for Tulgey Wood, home of the Cheshire Cat , the garden of live flowers, and the Mad Tea Party all feature rich, dark tones, against which vividly hued characters pop out, or are isolated in pools of light.
Peter Pan 1953
For Peter Pan, Blair’s final feature, her well of creativity was as deep and inexhaustible as ever. Blair’s mastery of mood through dramatic lighting was a focal component of her concepts for the feature. Shapes in Peter Pan- leaves, trees, rocks, ships, tepees- had come to resemble collage. The look anticipates the actual cutouts Blair would use for It’s A Small World a decade later.