Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mel Shaw at the Walt Disney Family Museum

A terrific exhibition opened a few days ago at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Mel Shaw: Animator on Horseback will run until Sept. 12, 2016.
It is crazy to find out that Mel never had an exhibition during his lifetime, so this show is a first.
Don Hahn curated this beautiful exhibit which features examples of Mel's Disney concept art, and lots of his personal work. There are travel sketchbooks and paintings depicting California History, the Old West and many equestrian themes. Mel loved horses and he was an expert in horse anatomy and movement.
In case you didn't know, he was also an amazing sculptor. Several bronzes are on display.

A watercolor sketch of Bambi encountering a cricket.

Entering the imaginary world of Heinrich Kley, a group of centaurs playing polo.

No, this is not a Fox & the Hound production painting. It is a scene from one of Aesop's Fables.
I believe a non Disney piece of art.

A simple, but beautiful sketch, made during one of Mel's trips to Africa.

Most of you will recall this scene from Beauty and the Beast. I remember as if it was yesterday, Mel just knocked out these gorgeous storytelling pastels, one more beautiful than the other. The unproduced Musicana, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Beauty & the Beast and The Lion King, all benefited greatly from from Mel's inspirational work for these films.

Here is the link to the Museum's web page:

More on Mel Shaw in this previous post:


  1. Beautiful drawings! I just hope, would live near to see exhibition. Heh, who is Walt there, playing polo?

  2. These are incredible and I especially love the idea of centaurs playing polo. It's sad his work was not been on display during his lifetime but Congratulations to him for finally having an exhibition so well deserved!