The Walt Disney Family Museum has unveiled a wonderful exhibit on Disney Legend Marc Davis and MiceChat’s Scarlett Stahl was there to bring us the news. As always, it’s a delight to be a fly on the wall via Scarlett’s photos and comments. ~~Rick
Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, an invitation only pre-opening reception was held in the evening at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presideo, San Francisco for the exhibit of famed animator and fine artist, Marc Davis, entitled “Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis.” Press were invited first to tour the exhibit and to interview co-curators, Andreas Deja (animator extraordinaire) and Michael Labrie (the museum’s director of collections and exhibitions), as well as Marc’s widow, Alice Davis (a Disney Legend in her own right).
Afterwards family, friends and fans gathered to visit, enjoy hors d’oeuvres from circulating waiters while both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages were available at the corner bar in the gallery below the gift shop. After speeches by Andreas Deja, Michael Labrie, Alice Davis and Kirsten Komoroske (Executive Director at The Walt Disney Family Museum), group photos of them along with Joanna Miller and Jennifer Miller Goff were taken.
Guests enjoyed visiting the Theater Gallery with its 70 original pencil animation drawings, conceptual artwork, paintings, cels, and photographs from animator and Imagineer Marc Davis. Marc was one of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men”, a group of lead animators, who created some of Disney’s favorite works. Walt jokingly called them The Nine Old Men (even though they were only in their thirties and forties), referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s description of the nine justices of the US Supreme Court.
His exhibit focused on his art of the ladies…. Marc was known as the “Ladies Man” as Walt always called upon him to animate the heroines and villainesses because of his unique skill with the feminine form. Some of his creations include: Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Maleficent. His favorite was Cruella de Ville as he often said he could have fun with her. And it is known that Walt’s favorite scene was when Cinderella was transformed by the Fairy Godmother into her unforgettable ball gown!
But, in addition to his Disney film ladies, his incredible talent with his fine art ladies is on exhibition, as well as those ladies at the Parks since he was an incredible Imagineer as well. He worked with his beloved wife Alice Davis and a team of Disney artists and engineers to design and dress the Audio-Animatronics® figures for Pirates of the Caribbean as well as it’s a small world, to name just two attractions at the Park, that he worked on. On small world they worked with famed artist Mary Blair, one of Walt’s favorite artists. Diane Disney Miller, knowing of the close friendship and work relationship between Marc, Alice and Mary, decided to have a small example of Marc’s art in an exhibit, in addition to the Mary Blair exhibit on display.
Guests circulated though the gallery, pausing to stand and gaze at their favorites. Others sat in front of the screen while Marc discussed his leading ladies. Later they retired to the gift shop to purchase items as remembrances of their visit.
Seen in the crowd were Ron Miller, Joanna Miller, Jennifer Miller-Goff, Paula Sigman Lowery, Maggie Richardson, Jeannie Chamberlain, Kevin Allinson, Fabrizio Mancinelli, Mindy Johnson, Rick Law to name just a few of the distinguished guests.
Michael Labrie (co-curator) came from Rhode Island many years ago, studying art and working with museums through the years, including the San Francisco Airport Museums. Since 2003, he has been working with the Walt Disney Family Foundation, stewarding the collections and preparing for the opening of the brick and mortar museum. With a staff of museum professionals he documents, prepares and conserves the art for the core galleries in the museum and special exhibitions in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall.
Working closely with Diane Disney Miller and her family, Michael has helped to build an outstanding collection of Disney and non-Disney art, memorabilia and ephemera to visually present the inspirational journey through the life of Walt Disney. The mission of the museum is to inform present and future generations about the man and, through his story, to inspire them to heed their imagination and persevere in pursuing their goals. What better way to inspire than to present the glorious art created at The Walt Disney studios, including artists that had careers beyond Disney, and many artists that were inspired by these masterworks and Walt’s story?
It has been a pleasure working with Alice and Andreas and having the opportunity to co-curate and learn more about Walt Disney’s Renaissance man. From what I could see in his magnificent body of work in Alice’s home, the collections at Imagineering, and the art pieces we have in the foundation’s collection, Mr. Davis was extremely prolific and incredibly versatile and talented. His animation drawings clearly show his skill in creating movement of the human form, his anthropomorphic animals have such character, they become very believable!
Alice Davis, Imagineer and widow of Marc Davis, not only worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and Small World but also on the General Electric Carousel of Progress, to name a few of her projects. And she still consults on projects for the Walt Disney Company. For her contributions, Alice was named a Disney Legend in 2004. In 2012 Alice was awarded a window on Main Street at Disneyland, next to her husband Marc’s window. This year she received the June Foray Award at the Annie Awards. Alice is very popular with the fans as she is not only truthful but also a colorful and humorous speaker. For example she has often said she went from working on sweet small children to dirty old men ( i.e. Small World to Pirates)
The exhibit is in a small gallery but it’s like walking into a jewelry store. The walls are painted a bright beautiful red and all the picture frames and pictures work well with the walls. They are like little jewels sitting on the red walls.
There are recordings of Marc’s voice, talking about the things he worked on and why they are the way they are, which added to the exhibit. Marc always said the animator is an actor with a pencil. For example he had to draw Tinker Bell, who had no voice, and have her talk to you through the animation of her body. This was difficult to do but very successful.
Also some personal items were shown, such as Valentines Day cards and Anniversary cards, which Marc drew and gave me as surprises. You could see another side of him as a person, who was so warm and thoughtful.
To sum it all up, you can see why I am so proud of him, in so many different ways.
Andreas Deja (co-curator) spent 30 years at Disney. At present he is focusing on his own animated short films, sculpting with wire and his Blog. He is known as an animator extraordinaire for his supervising animation of some of the most memorable Disney villains: Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin and Scar from The Lion King. He also animated Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, King Triton from The Little Mermaid, the title character from Hercules, Lilo from Lilo & Stitch, and Queen Narissa from Enchanted, Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog, and Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. He was awarded the Winsor McCay Award in 2006 at the Annie Awards.
Marc had such amazing range. As a draftsman, he was perfection with both humans and animals, and he was a great storyteller. He also liked to solve problems and rise to fantastic challenges, so Walt got him working in the theme parks.
Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis
April 30 to November 3, 2014, 2014
MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair March 13–September 7, 2014 -: http://www.waltdisney.org/special-exhibitions#sthash.nZyRcFxy.dpuf
The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
The Presidio, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129
MUSEUM HOURS: Open daily 10am–6pm, except every Tues, Jan 1, Thanksgiving & Dec 25 Last ticket sale and entry is 4:45pm –