Just after the famous 1941 animator strike, Disney’s magical illustrators were craving something different to draw as the decade turned. Enter, Disney’s modernist art phase.

Most turned their eyes towards the emerging modernist art style, taking the trend by storm. Wanting to experiment with color, form and motion, Disney artists thrust the studio into a new world of Midcentury Modern, a change has become iconic.

 

Disney's Modernist Art Atomic Ranch

Courtesy of BoingBoing


Disney’s Modernist Art

Hot off the presses and delving deep into this very topic is Didier Ghez’s, ‘They Drew As They Pleased Vol 4: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Mid-Century Era: The 1950s and 1960s.’ The art within features Disney and non-Disney illustration portfolios, including some pieces considered, “too weird, too ambitious, too esoteric to make it into a Disney production.”

Though some illustration projects were never produced, this collection holds mementos of the past, preserving it so any Midcentury Modernist or animation lover can experience the challenging works that drove animation studios to the edge in both creativity and style.

 

Disney's Modernist Art Atomic Ranch

Courtesy of BoingBoing


They Drew As They Pleased Vol 4: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Mid-Century Era: The 1950s and 1960s‘s description:

The 1950s and 1960s at The Walt Disney Studios marked unprecedented stylistic directions brought on by the Midcentury Modern and graphic sensibilities of a new wave of artists. This volume explores the contributions of these heroes with special emphasis on the art of Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn, and Walt Peregoy. It includes never-before-seen images from Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty and discusses Disney’s first forays into television, commercials, space, and science projects—even the development of theme parks. Drawing on interviews and revealing hundreds of rediscovered images that inspired Disney’s films during one of its most prolific eras, this volume captures the rich stories of the artists who brought the characters to life and helped shape the future of animation.

Learn more about Ghez and Disney’s modernist art here. For even more Midcentury Modern finds, follow us on Pinterest.

 

Disney's Modernist Art Atomic Ranch

Courtesy of BoingBoing