Businessperson and art collector Mark Hilbert, along with his wife Janet, founded the Hilbert Museum of California Art in Orange, a few miles from the Disneyland Resort. The couple have been a longtime fan of Disney Artist Mary Blair, about 30 years, because of her fine art.
Hilbert then later decided to add original Disney concept pieces to his collection in his museum by creating “The magic and flair of Disney Artist Mary Blair” exhibit. The couple felt they needed to add her pieces because, “Her work tells a story-and we are a storytelling museum.” Hilbert added, “Disney Artist Mary Blair was considered one of Walt (Disney’s) favorite artists. Her color sense could be compared favorably to Matisse.”
Mary Blair created and designed some of the most iconic images of Disneyland and Disney movies such as “It’s a Small World”. Disney Artist Mary Blair also created the production designs for animated films such as “Cinderella” (1950), “Alice in Wonderland” (1951) and “Peter Pan” (1953). Blair did all of this after joining the Disney Studios in 1940 while “Raising children, Keeping house, and doing my artwork” in an era where few women were accepted in such an environment.
Disney Artist Mary Blair went on to create two paintings during a trip to South Africa with Walt Disney himself, designed a series of Little Golden Books that included Disney designs and designed a pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Her design for the pavilion, created for UNICEF and Pepsi, featured animatronic children, which led to the iconic “It’s a Small World” rides that remains popular at Disneyland today. Blair also created two huge murals in 1967 for Tomorrowland, which are sadly currently covered up with a movement underway to uncover them. Disney Artist Mary Blair then passed away in 1978.
To view Disney Artist Mary Blair’s works of art you can visit the Hilbert Museum of California Art located at Chapman University, 167 N. Atchison Street, Orange. The hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is Free!
Source: Orange County Register
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