Herb Ryman was one of Walt’s most remarkably versatile artists. In fact, in his work away from the studio, Ryman complained that he could have been a truly wealthy man had he only chosen to specialize in one genre of artwork; but instead he painted in a whole variety of forms, including still lifes and portraits. One of his most remarkable series of paintings was done during the summers of 1949 and 1951 when he traveled with the Ringling Brothers Circus and rendered the “inside-the-tent” activities he experienced, with remarkable color and a sense of motion.
The bulk of Ryman’s best-known work consisted of major contributions to the success of Walt’s various ventures. His Hollywood story started before that, in 1932, when he began to work as an illustrator for Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios. There he was involved in designing a number of famed movies, including Mutiny on the Bounty, Anna Karenina, and the Emerald City segment for The Wizard of Oz.