Met exhibition in New York explores how French decorative arts inspired Disney | Life

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Walt Disney had a very personal relationship with France. – AFP photo

NEW YORK, November 16 – Throughout his life, Walt Disney was inspired by French culture and heritage to make his animated films. In New York, an exhibition inaugurated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art examines for the first time the influence of European decorative arts on the cartoons which marked our childhood.

“Inspiring Walt Disney: Animating French Decorative Arts” features 60 works of 18th century European decorative art and design, including tapestries, Boulle clocks and Sèvres porcelain.

They are featured alongside hundreds of production drawings and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, the Walt Disney Archives, the Walt Disney Imagineering Collection, and the Walt Disney Family Museum.

The exhibits allow visitors to the Met to explore the many references to European visual culture hidden in Disney animated films. For example, Walt Disney spicy Cinderella with many nods to neo-Gothic architecture, while The beauty and the Beast was inspired by the rococo style.

An entire section of the exhibit is devoted to this animated classic from Disney studios. Walt Disney had proposed to adapt the fairy tale, presented in its first modern version by novelist Suzanne-Gabrielle Barbot de Villeneuve, from the 1940s.

But it was not until 1991 that The beauty and the Beast was released in theaters. “Inspiring Walt Disney” features a selection of pre-film sketches, as well as 18th century clocks, candle holders and teapots, evoking the characters of Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts. These objects illustrate how Disney animators and Rococo artists sought to bring what is essentially inanimate to life.

“Disney animated films and rococo decorative artwork are imbued with elements of playful storytelling, fun and wonder,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen, French director of the Met.

“18th century artisans and 20th century animators sought to arouse feelings of excitement, wonder and wonder in their respective audiences. Through exquisite objects and Disney artifacts, this exhibition will offer an unprecedented look at the impact of French art on the productions of Disney Studios from the 1930s to almost the present day.

Walt Disney had a very personal relationship with France, one of his ancestors’ homelands with Ireland. His repeated trips to Europe not only greatly inspired his audiovisual creations, but also sparked his passion for collecting and building miniature furniture and dollhouses. A selection of these miniature objects will also be presented, as well as personal films of Disney and his family visiting Paris and Versailles.

Visitors to the New York Met can see “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” from December 10, 2021 to March 6, 2022. – ETX Studio

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