There’s no mistaking the work of Mary Blair.
She was one of the most distinctive visual artists to work for Walt Disney during the studio’s golden age.
As an artist and a stylist, she contributed her trademark bold and colorful designs to a range of iconic Mouse House works, from conceptual art for “Cinderella,” “Alice and Wonderland” and “Peter Pan” to the It’s a Small World attraction (originally created for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in honor of UNICEF), murals and many other art pieces for Disney theme parks.
It’s a testament to Walt Disney’s esteem for her talents that he gave Blair such a broad canvas on which to work in a style often very different from the classic Disney milieu. She was also a trailblazer for femmes in the animation biz.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will host a centennial tribute to Blair, who died in 1978 at age 66, on Thursday as part of its Marc Davis Celebration of Animation Series.
Contempo animation pros including Pete Docter, Michael Giamo, Eric Goldberg, Susan Goldberg and Daisuke Tsutsumi will discuss her work and its lasting influence on toon artisans. Sesh at the Acad’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater will be moderated by animation historian Charles Solomon.