This Woman Was Behind the Aesthetic of your Favorite Disney Movies

by Andrea Stopa

You don’t know her name, but I bet you know her work. 

Mary Blair, pictured above, was responsible for dreaming up the concepts behind famous Disney films, including Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. Blair originated the character concepts, color schemes, and the modernist style expressed in the films and determined the aesthetic depiction of famous Disney scenes. Her imaginative and unique designs greatly influenced the now historic look of these classics. Not to mention she was doing these illustrations in the 1940’s and 50’s — not exactly liberated times for women in art professions.

Of course, on the curtails of Women’s History Month, and as we are still nursing the wounds of realization that we need to delineate a month (and only a month) to acknowledge all of the powerful women a patriarchal history has erased, it is of no surprise that Blair is not a well-known name or association with Disney, although she was celebrated with a Google Doodle in 2011 and Blair’s work is now on view at Walt Disney Family Museum until September 7, 2014. So hopefully she will finally get her space. 

Here are some images from “Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair,” so you can fully appreciate her talent. Can you guess the films?


We don’t have to go into the racist depictions of Native Americans in the scene above, but let’s just make sure we know it was unacceptable and definitely a thing

Thanks to Huffpost. Check the link if you couldn’t guess the images!



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