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Prepare for the Mary Blair Invasion

Thirty-five years after her death, the iconic animation artist Mary Blair is getting artistic representation. The Mary Blair Estate has teamed up with Firefly Brand Management to spread her whimsical and colorful creations to “a wide range of products, including cosmetics, home décor, accessories, apparel, and collectibles.” Firefly also represents such brands as Skippy Peanut Butter, Mr. Bubbles, the Village People, Etch A Sketch, and SPAM.

Maggie Richardson, who is Mary Blair’s niece, said in the announcement:

“My sister Jeanne and I are thrilled to be working with the dynamic, cutting edge team at Firefly. We both grew up around Mary and her art – not only her Disney, children’s books and other projects, but the art she did for herself, her family and friends and for special occasions – created from pure enjoyment and her deep love of painting. This unique and versatile body of work spans Mary’s lifetime and is imbued with her now famous Mary Blair Magic. We are delighted to be sharing it through our new association with Firefly.”

On the one hand, it’s nice to see Mary Blair’s artwork disseminated in the public sphere. On the other hand, Mary’s artwork, charming and fun as it may have been, was created as she battled addiction, an emotionally abusive spouse, and all sorts of difficult family issues. It’s tacky to see people who had nothing to do with her art profiting from work created under such tragic circumstances.