The Art and Flair of Mary Blair

Event has passed (Sun Nov 18, 2007 - Tue Mar 18, 2008)
Museums, Galleries, Family
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"Mention the name Mary Blair, and few will recognize it. But say she designed 'Alice In Wonderland,' the 'It's A Small World' ride at Disneyland, and painted many of the most popular Little Golden Books, and people will 'Oh yeah!' in recognition. Few others working in animation in the '40s and '50s were as innovative, interesting, and accessible as Mary Blair. Through her unique color styling and graphically strong shape language, her work pushed animation design in a different direction towards a more evocative, suggested feeling of the subject matter.

"Blair's work is decidedly not realistic, but it evokes powerful emotions in the audience. Her sense of color defies logical explanation, yet somehow feels emotionally perfect. No wonder Walt Disney loved her work. Like animation itself, her paintings were a caricature of real life; more intensely evocative of the thing than the thing itself."

--Pete Docter, Director of "Monsters, Inc.," Pixar Animation Studios


The Cartoon Art Museum is proud to present The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, a retrospective exhibition of the work of famed animation designer Mary Blair (1911-1978). One of the first women to work as a concept artist for Disney, Blair was responsible for the look of some of the key Disney films of the 1940s and 1950s including Cinderella and Peter Pan. Her colorful, charming geometric designs, synonymous with 1950s style, appeared in advertisements and childrenšs books. Perhaps her most famous creation, however, is the Disneyland attraction It's A Small World, which Blair originally designed for the 1964 World's Fair. She was posthumously recognized as a Disney Legend in 1991 and was honored with a Winsor McCay animation award in 1996.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition includes an array of Blair's groundbreaking concept art for classic Disney feature films including Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, Disney shorts such as The Little House, Johnny Appleseed, and Susie, The Little Blue Coupe, and Disney theme parks and attractions, including It's A Small World.

The Art and Flair of Mary Blair showcases the full scope of Blair's career as an artist and illustrator, including early watercolor paintings, commercial illustrations for such clients as Hanes, Pall Mall, and Baker's Chocolate, a selection of Blair's fine art, unpublished family photographs, and children's book illustrations, including pages from the classic Little Golden Book I Can Fly.


Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
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  1. Cartoon Art Museum
    655 Mission St, San Francisco, CA