Monday, August 25, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original hand painted production animation cel of Lucky, Patch, and a Puppy from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production animation drawing of Maleficent and Diablo from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original Production cels of Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore from "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," 1966

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wicked Stepmother Production Cel - Lady Tremaine from "Cinderella," 1950

Original hand inked and hand painted production cel of Lady Tremaine set on a lithographic copy of the matching key production background from "Cinderella," 1950

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

"Often, patrons would be horrified or dismayed by the behavior of a villain, but more people actually hated the Stepmother more than any other villain we ever created." - Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas from "The Disney Villain," 1993

When I first saw Cinderella, I was one those kids that hated the Stepmother and was very frightened of what she might be capable of doing to poor Cinderella.  The Stepmother (or Lady Tremaine) was a tour de force for the Disney animation team and her motivation was simple.  All of her actions were the result of jealously for Cinderella's beauty and a desire to climb a social ladder by marrying off one her daughters to Prince Charming.  Lady Tremaine did not harm Cinderella physically but rather punish and abuse her psychologically, with an ultimate goal of gaining even more power and status.

Eleanor Audley (TV and film actress as well as familiar radio and animation voice talent) was filmed while she was dressed and speaking as the Stepmother; and as she performed scenes outlined in the film.  Those film reels were used by animator Frank Thomas to convey even more realism to the character.  Although the framed images were not directly copied by the animator, they were used as reference for lifelike movements.  Eleanor Audley also voiced the Stepmother and her articulation conveyed the fire and raw power of the character.  She could be sharp and curt in telling Cinderella what chores to do while lying in bed and slowly stirring her cup of tea, or her voice could be calm are cruel while watching as her daughters viciously destroyed Cinderella's dress.   As Cinderella stands there in the foyer in tattered rags, Lady Tremaine simply says, "good night" while she and her two daughters close the front door to leave for the ball.

Frank Thomas did a phenomenal job of controlling the Stepmother's actions to make sure that they were were not wild and out of control; but rather calculated, cold, and precise.  The story of Cinderella presented a situation where a villain lived and interacted with her victim day after day under the same roof.  The actions of the Stepmother seemed even more cruel because not only were both she and Cinderella animated in a very realistic fashion, but because of the close proximity the cruelness of the villain could be seen as even more intense by the reactions on Cinderella's face.  If all this were not enough, the Stepmother's arsenal of evil was compounded by her two ill mannered daughters Anastasia and Drizella; as well as Lucifer the cat, who delighted in trying to kill Cinderella's mouse friends. (More about these three in later posts.)

Framed original production cel of Lady Tremaine from "Cinderella," 1950

To view this cel in the film, click on the short video below:

#cinderella   #stepmother   #wickedstepmother   #ladytremaine   #disney  #cel   #animationcel   #productioncel   #animationcollection  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original production animation drawing of Maleficent and Diablo from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted production animation cel of Pongo and a Puppy from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original hand painted production animation cel of Robin Hood from "Robin Hood," 1973

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original hand painted production cel of Ursula from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

Original hand painted production cel of Rolly the Dalmatian Puppy from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production drawing of Snow White from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Monday, August 11, 2014

Animation Art - Who buys this stuff?

SOLD! - Original hand painted production cel of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

I have been buying and selling animation art now for over 20 years, and during that time I have met many collectors and dealers.  The first shocking thing for me to realize was that so many dealers know very little about animation art and in some cases don't even know what they are selling.  As an example years ago I was looking at a drawing of Sir Hiss wearing his feathered hat from "Robin Hood," and the dealer selling it said to me, "It's Dino (from Hanna Barbera's "Flintstones") with a hat!"  "Oh really?", I said; and I thought to myself this is one dealer who I will never trust.  The second realization about dealers was when I discovered that many of them don't care at all about what they are selling; it really is nothing more than a commodity to them.  When I was just starting out as an art dealer, I visited an established Animation Gallery owner at his Gallery and the way in which he was tossing and sliding vintage cels around was really upsetting.  He did not care at all if a cel lost a little more paint or if a drawing added a few more creases; for me it was un-nerving.  We were in the back room of his Gallery and I just wondered if he ever did this type of thing in front of clients, or was he just doing it in front of me because he assumed all dealers don't care about the art?  Not all dealers (certainly not me) treat the art so recklessly; but I have been surprised by the number that fall into that category.

By comparison, collectors seem to go in the opposite direction; they become completely spell-bound by the collecting experience and the original animation art becomes a thing of great importance and an object deserving of great respect.  I think one reason collectors never change out of cheap metal frames, is a fear of damaging the artwork.  The majority of collectors seem scared to handle unframed art but still take great pride in what they have acquired.  I have always thought of my collection as a responsibility to some degree; to preserve the work for future generations.  The great thing about animation art is that it falls into multiple categories: art, collectible, movie memorabilia, Hollywood memorabilia, childhood memories, etc., and therefore there is a wide public appeal to the art form. 

Once a kid of sixteen years old called the Gallery and said that his Grandmother had given him $1000 for his birthday (I know, what a great Grandmother!) and he wanted to use the money to buy a cel.  The one he chose was a beautiful cel of Briar Rose from "Sleeping Beauty."  It was a full figure image, eyes open, she was carrying her basket, the cel was placed on a copy background; and the whole setup was custom matted and framed!  We shipped it and I never heard from him again.  I hope he still has the cel and thinks of his Grandmother when he gazes upon it. 

I think every collector has a set of "rules" that he or she uses in determining what and how to collect.  It can be just about any range of parameters you can image.  An early patron of the Gallery wanted to collect drawings by the legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, and if they were or if we could get them signed (Frank Thomas was alive at this point and we were sending him drawings and cels to sign and even dedicate), all the better!  The most interesting client was one that only collected cels or drawings of a character being hit over the head.  The studio did not matter, so we were always looking for Hanna Barbera characters like the Jetsons or Scooby-Doo in a battle, Friz Freleng's Pink Panther hitting the Inspector on the head, or Warner Brothers Yosemite Sam hitting his camel or dragon for not stopping, etc.  It was much harder to find these exact frames than you may think!  As to why he wanted characters hit in the head... I never asked.  He was a bit odder than the norm, because most collectors just want Disney Princess or Villains (like myself), collect from their favorite films or shorts, or cartoon characters that they loved as a child.  The Gallery had a married couple that only collected from Disney's "Jungle Book."  Over the years they purchased cels of every character from the film and had them all framed and hanging in their dining room.  I have met collectors who only wanted drawings, or those who only wanted cels.  One of my favorite stories was an article in Art In America years ago that showcased a woman's personal collection.  She owned Warhol, Picasso, Chagall, etc. but stated that one of her favorite pieces was an animation cel of Bugs Bunny that hung in her breakfast room.  She saw it every day and it always made her smile.

#animationart   #disney   #Cruella   #art   #artcollecting   #artcollectors  #cel   #disneydrawing   #disneycel  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original hand painted production cel of Brutus and Nero from "The Rescuers," 1977

Original production drawing of Maleficent as the Dragon from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted production cel of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Friday, August 8, 2014

Original Production Animation Drawing of the Evil Queen from "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Original production drawing of the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Graphite, green, and red pencils on watermarked five peg hole paper; Production numbers stamp lower left and numbered 923 in graphite pencil lower right; Size - Queen 10 x 6 3/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

Development on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in early 1934, and by June Walt Disney announced to The New York Times the production of his first feature, to be released under Walt Disney Productions.  Before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Disney studio had been primarily involved in the production of animated short subjects in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series.  However, Disney hoped to expand his studio's prestige and revenues by moving into features, and he estimated that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could be produced for a budget of $250,000 (this was ten times the budget of an average Silly Symphony).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was to be the first full-length cel animated feature in motion picture history, and as such Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother and business partner Roy Disney, as well as his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it.  The Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the film, while is was in production, as "Disney's Folly."  Disney ended up having to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which would eventually ran up to a total cost of $1,488,422.74; an absolutely massive sum for a feature film in 1937!

Close up of the Evil Queen original production animation drawing.

The Evil Queen, one of the greatest Walt Disney animated villains of all time, was animated by the famous Disney animator Art Babbitt. Babbitt was already an accomplished animator prior to working on "Snow White," Disney's first full length animated film. He was known for creating the character of Goofy and for his work on "The Country Cousin," which won an Academy Award for the Disney Studio in 1936. The villain for Snow White was the Evil Queen; which Walt Disney and Joe Grant (Walt Disney character designer and story artist) had conceived as a blend of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf, as well as traits inspired by actresses Joan Crawford and Gale Sondergaard. Refinement of the Queen was done by animators Grim Natwick and Norm Ferguson; however the actual animation of the Queen fell to Art Babbitt.

Rotoscoping, a technique used in animation whereby live actors are used to portray the characters and then animators trace over the footage frame by frame; was not used as much on the Queen as it was for the character of Snow White. Babbitt preferred to avoid rotoscoping and instead draw the character free hand. It has been stated that you could wallpaper a room with just drawings that Babbitt made just of her mouth and eyes; because all of the Queen's emotions came through her face. The Evil Queen, wonderfully voiced by veteran stage actress Lucille La Verne; holds a place in history as being the first character to ever speak in a full length animated film.

Close up of the production numbers stamp in the lower left.

Close up of the production number in the lower right.

This is a very large original production animation drawing of the Evil Queen from the pivotal part in the film when she is lifting the heart box up in order to present it to the Huntsman. The heart box was to insure that the Huntsman had indeed killed Snow White! The Evil Queen is eyes and mouth open and the drawing is accomplished in graphite, green, and red pencils. A rare and important drawing from Walt Disney's first full length animated feature film.

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below:

#SnowWhite #Doc #Bashful #Dopey #Happy #Sneezy #Sleepy #Grumpy #Disney #WaltDisney #PintoColvig #VladimirTytla #BillTytla #MarcDavis #GrimNatwick #animation #FrankChurchill #HamiltonLuske #AdrianaCaselotti #animationdrawing #productiondrawing #animationart #untitledartgallery #cel #CourvoisierGalleries #CourvoisierGallery #Courvoisier #Witch #EvilQueen #OldHag #Huntsman #animationcel #sevendwarfs #dwarfs #ArtBabbit #OllieJohnston #FrankThomas #ShamusCulhane #FredMoore #LucilleLaVerne

Classic Disney Voice Actors and Actresses

This is a wonderful video I found on YouTube with images of the Disney characters and then either still photos or short videos of the voice actor or actress responsible for the role.  The following are included:  Ilene Woods voice of Cinderella; Bobby Driscoll voice of Peter Pan; Paul Winchell voice of Tigger; Kathryn Beaumont voice of Alice and Wendy; Sterling Holloway voice of Winnie the Pooh, the Cheshire Cat, and Kaa; Elanor Audley voice of Lady Tremaine and Maleficent; Hans Conried voice of Mr. Darling and Captain Hook; Bruce Reitherman voice of Mowgli and Christopher Robin; Phil Harris voice of Thomas O'Malley and Baloo; and finally Verna Felton voice of the Queen of Hearts, Fauna and the Fairy Godmother.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Maleficent Drawing from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original production drawing of Maleficent and Diablo from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

If you ask people to name their favorite Disney Villain, chances are you will one of three answers; The Evil Queen/Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Cruella DeVil from "101 Dalmatians," or Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty."  Two of the three, Cruella and Maleficent, were created/drawn by the great animator Marc Davis.  Davis was part of what has been dubbed Disney's Nine Old Men; the core group of animators, some becoming directors, that created the finest animated films ranging from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 1937 to "The Rescuers", 1977.

The voice of Maleficent was performed by Eleanor Audley.  She had worked for Disney prior by also being the voice for the cold and calculating Lady Tremaine (The Stepmother) in "Cinderella."  If is known that Frank Thomas for Lady Tremaine and Marc Davis for Maleficent, incorporated facials features of Eleanor into both characters.  

The drawing pictured is for sale and is a very rare, eyes and mouth open original production drawing of Maleficent and her pet raven Diablo from the 1959 full length animated feature film "Sleeping Beauty" from Walt Disney Studios.  This drawing is from the very famous scene of Maleficent tormenting the captured Prince Phillip and as she leaves she says, "Let us leave our noble prince with these happy thoughts."  The drawing is numbered "111" lower right and has the word "WITH" top left with lines connecting the I with the T showing that is current letters she is pronouncing.  Maleficent and Diablo measures an incredible 10" x 7 1/4" and is on a 15 1/2" x 12 1/2" sheet of three peg hole paper.  If you are interested in purchasing the work, please contact me.

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Original Production Cel of The Queen of Hearts From "Alice in Wonderland," 1951

Original hand inked and hand painted production cel of the Queen of Hearts set on a lithographic background from "Alice In Wonderland," 1951; Size - Queen of Hearts: 6 1/2 x 5", Cel: 9 x 11 1/2", Image: 8 1/2 x 10 1/2"; Frame: 19 1/2 x 21 1/4"; Framed using a black and gold wood frame, an acid free black suede mat, and UV conservation clear glass.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (commonly shortened to "Alice in Wonderland"), is a 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Disney reworked the story to fit with both a younger audience and a time frame suitable for an animated film (it's run time is only 75 minutes).

Original production cel of the Queen of Hearts with an alternate background.

The Queen of Hearts was voiced by Verna Felton and even today I think that most people when you mention the Queen of Hearts from "Alice" hear in their mind Verna's classic line "Off with their heads!"  Ms. Felton not only voiced the Queen from "Alice" but the Fairy Godmother from "Cinderella," Flora and Queen Leah from "Sleeping Beauty," Aunt Sarah from "Lady and Tramp," and several others.  What is interesting is that all the other characters are sweet and kind and are the typical grandmother type of voice; but not the Queen.  The Queen was loud and you never knew exactly when she would lose her temper.

Original production cel of the Queen of Hearts without the background.

This cel is from when the Queen first appears in the film and is asking Alice to curtsy.  It is just a few frames off from the image that Walt Disney Studios chose to use as the image for their limited edition Sericel. The pose is just perfect; both eyes and mouth are open and she is holding her heart fan. After the Queen instructs Alice on the proper way to address her; she than asks Alice about where she is from, and where she is now going. The dialog from the scene is below:

Queen of Hearts: "Look up, speak nicely, and don't twiddle your fingers! Turn out your toes. Curtsey. Open your mouth a little wider, and always say 'yes, your majesty'!"
Alice: "Yes, your majesty!"
Queen of Hearts: "Hmhmhmhm. Now, um, where do you come from, and where are you going?"

Framed Queen of Hearts production cel.

To see this cel in the film, click on the short video below:

For me framing matters... a lot!

Evil Queen cel prior to custom framing.

Evil Queen cel after custom framing.

When I purchased the Evil Queen cel it was framed in a narrow gold frame and measured 18 3/4" x 17".  It was a nice frame, but it did not capture the drama or power of the character.  I kept the mats but added a black suede top mat with much wider margins, a black and gold wooden frame, and changed the glass to UV conservation clear.  The new framed size is 30" x 26 1/4"and hangs on yellow wall in the living room.

In both dealing and collecting animation, well over 90% of the frames that I see on cels and drawings  are, in my opinion, crap.  A key set-up from "Snow White" can be in a cheap metal frame, some acid paper mats, and a piece of scratched up plexiglass.  I just don't see how the owner could ever enjoy that work of art on his or her wall?  I feel sure that not everyone will like the large scale framed works, however in the Gallery we have found that once collectors see them in person; they want to change their collection over.  When the Gallery showed at an Animation Art Fair in Baltimore MD many years ago, we did very well and our most expensive sale was because of our unique framing.  In the end, some may not want to go to the expense of higher end framing; but those that can and chose to do it; never look back!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Animation Art Collecting - The Early Years

I started collecting animation art very soon after I saw my first piece.  I was having my college undergraduate diploma framed at a small frame shop in Wilmington NC, and happened to glance past the counter to see an image of Walt Disney's version of Robin Hood.  At first I thought it was just a small poster or print out.  However, I soon realized that it was not, and when I asked the employee behind the counter what it was; he told me it was an animation cel from Walt Disney Studios.  I was really so excited, because I had no idea that such a thing was even possible to own!  I was hooked.

When I moved to Raleigh I was doing some Gallery hopping and happened upon a Gallery that had original cels and drawings for sale, and from there it was over for me.  Now I purchase from everywhere; auctions, galleries, art brokers, other countries, just anywhere, and everywhere.  Through my years of collecting I have always focused on Walt Disney Villains.  I grew up watching the Disney movies both on the movie theater and on TV, and loved them!  I loved watching the villains on the screen more than the heros or princesses; and so now, I am at a point in my life where I have the where-with-all to collect them.  
At one time I had, what I believe, to be the largest collection of the Evil Queen from "Snow White" in the world, composed of a variety of drawings, cels, and story boards.  Years ago I sold the collection and have over this past year I have started purchasing animation art once again.  This time around I have decided to not be so narrow, but still focus on Walt Disney feature film villains.  My planed collection will be of both cels and drawings spanning the feature films only and covering the time when cels where hand painted.  That means that I will go from "Snow White and Seven Dwarfs," 1937 to "Little Mermaid," 1989.  

As I post photographs of my collection on this blog I will also be adding stories and information that I have gathered over the many years of collecting.  I am both a dealer and a collector, so I think I have an interesting point of view.