Heinrich Kley exhibit – at the Walt Disney Museum through September 17th, 2012

If you are in the San Francisco area make it a point to get out the to the  Walt Disney Family Museum  (always an inspiring trip in itself)  to see a special exhibit of Walt Disney’s private collection of Heinrich Kley  drawings and sketchbooks.   The exhibit is currently open and runs through September 17th, 2012.




The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to present the special exhibition Heinrich Kley: From Fantasy to Fantasia featuring drawings by Heinrich Kley—Walt Disney’s most admired European illustrator—paired with art from Disney’s famed animated film Fantasia (1940). On view from May 11 to September 17, 2012, this exhibition features 29 drawings by Kley and alongside more than 25 sketches, concept art, and maquettes from the Walt Disney classic film.   Also on view are four of Kley’s sketchbooks which feature some 50 pages of intricate drawings.    The Kley artworks are from Walt Disney’s collection and are on public view for the first time in the United States.

Walt Disney was known to seek great inspiration from European fairy tales for his films; not only was he inspired by them, he made them his own. Walt also looked to European art as a source of inspiration, especially book illustration. Heinrich Kley was one of Walt’s favorite illustrators and he collected Kley’s work in depth. During a trip to Europe in 1935, it is well documented that Walt returned with some 350 illustrated books and artworks that he acquired with the intention of using as a source of inspiration for future projects. He responded to the beauty, drama, and powerful visual narrative and irony of Kley’s work.

In a 1964 television interview Walt said, “Without the wonderful drawings of Heinrich Kley, I could not conduct my art school classes for my animators.”



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