Deceased. MARY BLAIR (1911-1978) is revered in both the children's animation and illustration industries. For nearly four decades, she was involved with many important Disney projects. She created the concept paintings for the animated films Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland, and designed the 1964-65 New York World's Fair exhibit "It's a Small World." Mary Blair illustrated only a few picture books, but they include one of the best-loved classic Little Golden Books: I Can Fly.
“We are artists, dear, in love with art and each other. We must make these loves coincide and melt into a beautiful, happy and rich life --- that is our future….we’ll live to be happy and paint to express our happiness”. - Mary Blair
"I'm Just Wild About Mary Blair"
(A Short Biography by John Canemaker)
I have long admired the distinctive, dazzling artworks of Mary Blair (1911 – 1978).
Her vibrant colors and stylized designs pervade Disney animated films from 1943 to 1953 (such as THE THREE CABALLEROS, CINDERELLA, ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND PETER PAN). A prolific artist, during the 1950’s and 60’s she brought eye-appealing flair to children’s books (I CAN FLY), advertisements, theatrical set designs, and large-scale theme park murals and attractions (such as Disneyland’s IT’S A SMALL WORLD).
Mary Robinson Blair trained at the Chouinard Art Institute of Los Angeles during the Depression, and, with her husband Lee, was a member of the important California regionalist school of watercolor of the 1930s. Beneath her deceptively simple style, lies enormous visual sophistication and craftsmanship in everything from color choices to composition.
Though much of her art veers away from naturalism toward abstraction, she was one of Walt Disney’s favorite artists; he personally responded to her use of color, naïve graphics, and the storytelling aspect in her pictures, especially the underlying emotions palpable in much of her art.
It would be difficult for anyone not to enjoy the witty, utterly charming art of Mary Blair, a dazzling and prolific sorceress of color and form. She saw the world in a fresh, new way and brought a special childlike beauty and gaiety to the works of print, theme parks and movies.
I feel great pleasure merely gazing at a work by Mary Blair. It’s as delicious as feasting on rainbows.
Patti Friday, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'