Books &Disney &Illustration &Layout & Design &Mary Blair 12 Jul 2010 07:03 am

Mary Blair – 1

(Click any image to enlarge.)

- I received a magnificent gift, recently, from John Canemaker. It’s a book that was published in Japan that intensely focusses on the work of Mary Blair, the brilliant artist who
designed and stylized many Disney’s golden films.

The book is chock-a-block with images, and even though most of the writing is in Japanese, the book is a glorious item to read through – just for the pictures. Fortunately, there is identification in English under all of the images. John Canemaker also has a wonderfully written Foreward in the book.

I’m going to make a couple of posts selecting some images that I found exciting and relevant to Ms. Blair’s career. Included, of course, will be some paintings and designs by her husband, Lee Blair, and her brother-in-law, Preston Blair.

I’m sure a lot of the paintings were chosen to act as a comparison to some of the animated segments done by the trio. Take, for example, “Woman with Red Flowers in Hair” by Preston Blair.

This post will attend to the pre-Disney paintings of all three artists.

Wedding Photo – March 3, 1934
Mary and Lee Blair

Lee Blair – The twins

Mary Blair – Couple in Snow Sled

Mary Blair – Ice Skaters

Lee Blair – Mary by the Sea

Mary Blair – The Revelation

Mary Blair – The Expectation

Mary Blair – The Invitation

Mary Blair – San Francisco Nights

Mary Blair – Landscape of Trees

Mary Blair – Landscape

Lee Blair – Old Mansion

Lee Blair – Redwood Slashings

Preston Blair – Night Street Scene with Cable Car

Preston Blair – Female Nude Preening

Preston Blair – Couple Kissing

Preston Blair – Woman with Red Flowers in Hair

May I also remind you that John Canemaker has a wonderful book available in the US. The Art and Flair of Mary Blair is still for sale on Amazon.

13 Responses to “Mary Blair – 1”

  1. on 12 Jul 2010 at 8:42 am 1.Mark Mayerson said …

    Lovely work. And it’s interesting to see that Preston was working in the most commercial style of the three.

  2. on 12 Jul 2010 at 10:18 am 2.Casey said …

    I can’t wait for the second part! Thanks Michael this was just the inspiration I needed for today. The Mary Blair pieces in the snow are just lovely, and I’m shocked how beautiful Preston Blair’s more realistic paintings are. Thanks again!

  3. on 12 Jul 2010 at 10:44 am 3.joecab said …

    I feel ashamed not ever realizing that Preston Blair and Mary Blair were related.

  4. on 12 Jul 2010 at 10:51 am 4.Artie said …

    I have that book! It is much better for images than the Canemaker book. I think Stuart NG sells it.

  5. on 12 Jul 2010 at 12:08 pm 5.Joel Brinkerhoff said …

    Thanks for the lovely post. I’ve known about Lee and Mary being well established watercolorists but seeing Prestons’ paintings was a revelation. I’m surprised no one has mentioned that once upon a time, during the golden age of animation, there were three Blairs. I guess I just did.

  6. on 12 Jul 2010 at 1:35 pm 6.Eric Noble said …

    My god, these are magnificent. A true inspiration for all aspiring artists. Thank you for sharing these with us.

  7. on 12 Jul 2010 at 1:58 pm 7.Roberto Severino said …

    Absolutely beautiful Michael. Thanks for posting these wonderful gems. I’d love to have these hanging on my wall if I could.

  8. on 13 Jul 2010 at 1:45 am 8.Eddie Fitzgerald said …

    Holy Mackerel!!!!! What a post! Thanks a million for putting these pictures up! Maybe John Canemaker could be persuaded to do a second book about all three Blairs.

  9. on 14 Jul 2010 at 5:25 pm 9.Bryon said …

    heh heh there’s an idea! That should be his follow up book to ‘Two Guys Named Joe’!

    This great stuff — love the ‘Night Street Scene with Cable Car’!

  10. on 15 Jul 2010 at 5:41 pm 10.nick said …

    I just received this book and was blown away by the amount of beautiful images throughout. Truly a must have for any Mary Blair or Disney fan in general. I loved the 2 J.P Miller illustrations and would love to see a big book on him or the Provensons! Sometimes “art of” books tend to have abit too much of a narrative. This one speaks volumes through its visuals!

  11. on 16 Jul 2010 at 11:57 am 11.Jessica said …

    Wow, I’ve never seen those more serious watercolors by Mary. All I normally see are her more cartoony design work and these are really refreshing. I really like them!

  12. on 27 Dec 2011 at 12:30 am 12.Sam said …

    Hello Mr. Sporn,

    Thank you so much for sharing all the beautiful work of Mary Blair. I have a question. Which one of the two books, The Colors of Mary Blair or The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, did you find the picture of the dancing couple that you mention is – “An oil painting that’s reminiscent of the work of the brilliant black artist, Archibald Motley?” Thank you.


  13. on 27 Dec 2011 at 6:35 am 13.Michael said …

    I believe it’s in THE COLORS OF MARY BLAIR. A very small image in the book.

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