Major Disney Exhibit in Paris

ALICE IN WONDERLAND development

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.

UPDATE: Carbunkle Cartoons animator Colin Giles was recently in Paris and he has high praise for the exhibit. Colin writes:

I’ve just returned from vacation in Paris and London and I must say the Walt Disney exhibition was the highlight of the trip. It blew me away. So many important pieces of Disney Art – Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Joe Grant, Marc Davis and many others. It only cost 10 euros to get in and I went around twice just to soak it in. They even had a “Destino” section displaying Salvador Dali’s layouts. The work displayed truly showed that these artists were masters. It really is an important show and anyone close to Paris should make the trip. When it arrives in Montreal it should be required viewing. Seeing boards done by Ub Iwerks for “Plane Crazy” was the highlight for me. It was a very well organized display and really well thought out. I bought the DVD of the exhibition which contains a film made specifically for the show and I’ll be posting screen grabs on my blog.

(Thanks to Will Kane for the links)