Monday, February 22, 2021

Mary Blair's Legacy


Much has been said and written about Mary Blair in recent years. There have been a variety of new books about her art, some are Disney storytelling editions featuring her masterful color art from films like Cinderella and Peter Pan. John Canemaker wrote a beautiful book titled The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, in which he analyses Mary's artistic growth from a talented, if somewhat conventional watercolorist to a powerhouse modernist. 

There have also been major exhibitions, one at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (2009) and another one in San Francisco at the Walt Disney Family Museum (2014). Both exhibits offered terrific catalogues. 

When I started at Disney in 1980 hardly anybody joining the studio talked or even knew about Mary Blair. It wasn't until I got to know Marc and Alice Davis that I started to develop a deep admiration for her work. Both Marc and Alice knew Mary very well, and they had stayed in touch with her until her passing. Finding out about her triumphs and struggles from their first account recollections was thrilling. Marc thought that her sense of color was as good if not better than Henri Matisse.

In order to celebrate what would have been Mary's 100th birthday, Google honored her with a Doodle on Oktober 21, 2011.