D23 is hosting an opening celebration at The Huntington for the new exhibition, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts. This event is only available to D23 Gold Members. It will include a mixer with snacks and beverages. During this time, Director of the Walt Disney Archives, Rebecca Cline, and her team will give a presentation. Following the mixer, guests will be able to explore the exhibit.
The event is on December 12, 2022 at 6:30 PM PT. Tickets are:
- Gold Member: $110 + $7 processing fee
Tickets can be purchased here, while supplies last.
Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts Details
Dec. 10, 2022–March 27, 2023 | The international traveling exhibition “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.
The international traveling exhibition “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.
Approximately 50 works of 18th-century European decorative art and design, many of which are drawn from The Huntington’s significant collection, are featured alongside hand-drawn production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection, and The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Walt Disney (1901–1966) had a deep affection for France, having served there as an ambulance driver following World War I. It was then that he first became fascinated with Europe and European art. “Inspiring Walt Disney” highlights his art and architecture encounters during return trips following the war. Those visits became a profound source of inspiration for both himself and his studios; they also sparked his passion for collecting and building miniature furniture and dollhouse furnishings, foreshadowing the kind of creativity he would exercise in the creation of new “worlds” through his theme parks and films.
The concept of “Animating the Inanimate” is explored in the first section of the exhibition, which features French and German Rococo porcelain figurines alongside story sketches for The China Shop (1934), one of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies.” These types of whimsical porcelain figures, originally inspired by the pastoral scenes of French Rococo painter Antoine Watteau and his contemporaries, were brought to life by the first generation of Disney animators. The exhibition suggests connections between the remarkable technological advancements of the Meissen and Sèvres porcelain manufacturers over the course of the 18th century and the cinematic innovations pioneered by Disney animators at the beginning of the 20th century.
The next sections of the exhibition focus on two early animated features. The Cinderella (1950) section spotlights the barrier-breaking female artists who managed to enter the creative realm of Disney Studios, especially the celebrated Mary Blair. The exhibition also highlights the medieval sources that Disney artist Eyvind Earle and his colleagues consulted for the style of Sleeping Beauty (1959). In 2011, The Huntington’s conservation team restored the Walt Disney Archives’ Sleeping Beauty prop book, several pages of which will be on view in the exhibition.
Another part of “Inspiring Walt Disney” is devoted to Disney’s most Rococo film, Beauty and the Beast (1991), famous for featuring inanimate objects that come to life—from the level-headed Mrs. Potts to the charismatic Lumiere. The exhibition explores anthropomorphism and zoomorphism in 18th-century French literature and decorative arts, the interiors of the movie’s enchanted castle, and the design and animation of the Beast and other characters. Disney’s satirical take on Rococo fashion will be explored alongside works from The Huntington’s collection of macaroni prints—18th-century illustrations that poked fun at the extreme fashion worn by the upper classes at the time.
Disney architecture is also examined, specifically the fairy-tale castles that are central focal points in many Disney movies and theme parks. While the fantastical buildings exist outside actual periods and styles, Disney’s artists were heavily influenced by French and German architecture when creating their settings, particularly for the theme parks. The centerpiece of this section is the first bird’s-eye view illustration of Disneyland, drawn by Herbert Ryman under Walt Disney’s guidance over one weekend in the fall of 1953, as well as the only two known pairs of so-called Tower vases, made by Sèvres around 1762–63 and reunited for the first time. One pair is from The Huntington’s collection, and the other is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A fully illustrated catalog, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, by Wolf Burchard—the curator of the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he is the associate curator in the department of European sculpture and decorative arts—is available at the Huntington Store. It is published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts D23 Opening Celebration Official Details
Join D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and The Huntington in commemorating the opening of the museum’s brand-new exhibition, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts with an exclusive event for D23 Gold Members.
D23’s exclusive member celebration at The Huntington will begin with a welcome mixer where guests will be invited to enjoy snacks and beverages. During the mixer, guests will hear a special presentation by the Director of the Walt Disney Archives, Rebecca Cline and her team. Attendees will then make their way into the exhibit and have the opportunity to view the incredible art that inspired Disney Studios’ classics!
About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public.
The international traveling exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.
- Light desserts, snack and beverages (cash bar will be available)
- Special presentation by Director of the Walt Disney Archives, Rebecca Cline
- Exclusive access to the Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at The Huntington
- One (1) D23 commemorative keepsake
You will be required to show a photo ID. Members will be required to show their D23 Membership Card.
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. PST at The Huntington and will last until approximately 9 p.m. PST. Check in will begin at 6:15 p.m. PST.
Please keep in mind weather conditions for this outdoor special event: layers are encouraged.
- D23 Gold Members may reserve a ticket for themselves and up to three (3) guests.
- There are a limited number of tickets available. D23 Gold Members must log in by using their D23.com Member account information when reserving tickets. D23 Gold Members who do not bring their membership card and tickets will not be admitted to the event.
- Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a guest 18 years of age or older to attend this D23 event.
- Ticketed members and guests who do not attend the event forfeit their place as well as all experiences, benefits, and gifts associated with the event. D23 Members must be present, or guests will not gain admittance to event.
- All D23 events are subject to change without notice. There are strictly no cancellations or refunds, and tickets are not transferable.
- Video or audio recording of any kind will not be permitted during the presentation and screening.
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