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The 1950s and 1960s at the Walt Disney Studios marked unprecedented stylistic directions brought on by the mid-century modern and graphic sensibilities of a new wave of artists.

In his book They Drew As They Pleased Vol 4: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Mid- Century Era: The 1950s and 1960s, Disney historian Didier Ghez notes the artists leading this wave were Lee Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn, Walt Peregoy and Mary Blair. These “heroes” helped shape the future of animation.

“Mary had an exceptional sense of color and design,” Ghez says. “At first, Walt [Disney] was a little stunned by her art, which was unlike anything he had seen before, but then he fell in love with it. He realized how contemporary her designs were and how talented she was as an artist.”

Blair (1911-1978) went on to help shape the style of some of the best animated features from the 1950s, Ghez says, including Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

More than 25 pieces of original Blair art are featured in Heritage’s animation art auction scheduled for Dec. 13-15, 2019. […]