Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Genius of Heinrich Kley





I don't know exactly what year this article was published in the German newspaper "Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung". But since the text reveals that Kley had just died, the early 1940s would be a safe bet.
As I said before, Kley's work ages beautifully. Master draughtsmanship defining cartoony situations.
The first page shows you what Kley actually looked like, what a sad expression for an artist who's work makes you smile.
Occasionally Kley would copy one of his drawings and add color, either for a client for a friend.
The drawing below is one of those copies.





A huge oil painting depicting part of the German steel factory Krupp as it is being invaded by a group of demons. Kley's skills as a painter are as strong as his graphic work.



Drawings like this one inspired a generation of Disney animators...actually at least two generations, mine included.


5 comments:

  1. Wow! I've never seen a rendered painting of his before. I love the brushstrokes wrapping around the forms of the demon on the right, and the casual attitude of the guys behind it

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  2. Somehow, the one where the woman dances with a crocodilian reminds me of the "Dance of the Hours" segment of FANTASIA...

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  3. I love these winsome crocodiles. The one where he dances with the woman seems like an interesting spin on the classical theme of a young woman dancing with Death (usually represented by a skeleton). By contrast, these crocodiles appear too charming and friendly to be of any danger.

    Kley's work seems to me to really exemplify the Disney ethos. Sometimes in animation there seems to be a dichotomy: master draftsmen presenting humor, as opposed to funny people who draw well. Both Disney and Kley manage to split the difference quite well.

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  5. It says he'd just died at aged 82.

    He's cited as born April 1863.

    That places this article and his death sometime in 1945.

    I was totally obsessed with Kley during my teen years as an art student. Because of him I'd become pretty good with pen and ink. Mostly because, like Kley, I'd insert a good bit of absurdity into the images I'd created.

    Stood me well into my early years in advertising. I could draw anything convincingly.

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