I’ve known about this exhibition for a while, but it didn’t occur to me that I should post about it until a friend mentioned that it wasn’t on the Brew. An amazing exhibit of classic Disney artwork opened on September 15 at the Le Grand Palais in Paris. The show is called “Il Etait une Fois Walt Disney” (“Once upon a time, there was Walt Disney”), and folks who have attended are calling it one of the greatest animation exhibits ever. Didier Ghez of the Disney History blog has an interesting write-up about the exhibit, wherein he describes its importance:
What brings the whole thing to another level is the very concept of the exhibition: it is a quest to understand what works of art (especially European ones) inspired the art of Disney artists. Based on the seminal book of Dr. Robin Allan, Walt Disney and Europe, the Grand Palais exhibition displays works by the greatest European masters, like Gustave Dore, Heinrich Kley, or even Breughel, German expressionists and French architect Viollet le Duc alongside Disney concept art, layouts and backgrounds. And as all of you know, Disney’s artists works do not pale in front of those of those masters. In fact the association is mind-boggling: if you are a layman, the quality of the concept artists’ works become even more obvious and you start understanding that Walt had some really outstanding individuals working for him, that he was not the only one who drew everything and that the Studio was far from being a factory. If you are a Disney enthusiast you are bound to be stunned by connections with famous or less famous works of art from the past that you were not aware of.
For more info, there’s an article about the exhibit HERE, a slide show with lots of artwork HERE, and a video and even more artwork HERE. The show runs through Christmas in Paris, and if you’re anywhere in Europe, you’re not going to want to miss this. The exhibit then travels to Montreal where it’ll be at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from March 8 to June 24, 2007. I can’t make the Paris show, but I’m definitely going to check it out when it hits Montreal.