IN THE East Gallery
Magic, Color, Flair: the world of Mary Blair
For more than a dozen years, a soft spoken woman from Oklahoma dominated art and design at the Walt Disney Company. Mary Blair (1911–1978) set the artistic tone for the classic animated films Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. She was Walt’s favorite artist and he championed her talent in a male-dominated studio system. Blair’s exuberant color palette and modernist style endures today in the fanciful murals at Disney’s Contemporary Hotel and in the popular theme park attraction it’s a small world.
Blair’s creative influence further extended to print media. As a freelance artist working in New York in the 1950s, she became a popular illustrator for national magazines and advertisers. She designed clothing, window displays, and theatrical sets. Blair’s original paintings from her five Little Golden Books—including I Can Fly and The Up and Down Book—will be on view alongside her Disney film production work and her personal sketchbooks.
Magic, Color, Flair: the world of Mary Blair is organized by
The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, CA.
Image credit: Mary Blair, The Golden Book of Little Verses illustration, 1953 Courtesy Penguin Random House LLC. A colorful video ribbon wraps this gallery in a visually stimulating array of multimedia.
IN THE Central Gallery
A Taste for Adventure: The Art of William Pène du Bois
To mark the centenary of William Pène du Bois’s birth (1916-1993), The Carle is pleased to host an exhibition of his work, borrowed primarily from the Estate, with a small selection from the Museum’s permanent collection. Featured will be several drawings from his Newbery Award-winning book, The Twenty-One Balloons [Viking, 1947], the fantastic story of the round-the-world balloon voyage of Professor William Waterman Sherman in 1883. As well, viewers will enjoy Giant Otto [Viking, 1936], about a large yellow hound of indeterminate breeding, who uses his size and strength to perform good deeds. Giant Otto serves as a precursor to Norman Bridwell’s (American, 1928-2014) dog Clifford the Big Red Dog [Scholastic, 1963]. Pène du Bois’s clear linear style employs broad washes of color, lending a sophisticated cartoon quality to the visual experience. In addition to being a prolific author and illustrator of children’s books, Pène du Bois catered to older audiences, serving as a correspondent for Yank magazine during World War II, and was a founding editor for The Paris Review.
IN THE East Gallery
Magician of the Modern: The Art of Leonard Weisgard
Leonard Weisgard (1916–2000) was an award-wining illustrator of over 200 children’s books. He is perhaps best remembered for his productive collaboration with author Margaret Wise Brown, beginning with their popular Noisy Books series (1939). Influenced by both mid-century modernism and American folk art, Weisgard incorporated different media—gouache, poster paint, crayon, chalk, decoupage, stenciling, and pen and ink—to create a new kind of children’s book.
Weisgard won the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for The Little Island, the product of another partnership with Wise Brown. He worked with other authors and wrote a handful of books himself. Original art from Cinderella (1939), Red Light/Green Light (1944), The Little Island (1946), The Golden Egg Book (1947), Pelican Here/Pelican There (1948), The Important Book (1949), and The Funny Bunny Factory (1950), among others, will be on display. The Museum recently restored twenty seminal paintings by Weisgard to their original splendor; they will make their public debut in the exhibition.
IN THE East Gallery
Americana on Parade: The Art of Robert McCloskey
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings (1941), The Carle is organizing a retrospective highlighting much of the original art from this beloved book. While significant emphasis will center on Make Way for Ducklings, the exhibition considers McCloskey’s entire career ranging from his early publications Lentil (1940), Homer Price (1943), and Centerburg Tales (1951), which recall the artist’s youth in rural Ohio, to the family-based stories set in his adopted home state of Maine, such as Blueberries for Sal (1948) and Time of Wonder (1957). A selection of independent work—watercolors and paintings that connect McCloskey to such prominent American painters as Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper—will also be showcased. The recipient of two Caldecott Medals and three Caldecott Honors, McCloskey was a major force in twentieth-century picture book art. Americana on Parade: The Art of Robert McCloskey will feature over 90 original artworks, ephemera, and rare preliminary book materials.