An exhibition entitled “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” has just closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Although I wasn’t able to attend this show, I did uncover some very interesting virtual resources relating to the show. French Rococo ceramics were prominent visual references in many Disney films.
There is an overview video that’s short and a fairly good quick overview of the exhibition. It quickly highlights how Disney’s experiences in Europe shortly after WWI, particularly his observations of French decorative arts such as ceramics, furniture, textiles and painted interiors worked their way into numerous Disney feature films such as Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast.
A few screenshots from this video may demonstrate these explored linkages more clearly.
Better in my mind is an audio guide to the exhibition that provides more detailed information about specific items on display, and how French objects like these inspired Walt Disney in his animation efforts. Although images of most of the items discussed are small, I was able to zoom in to them sufficiently to enjoy the discussion.
Once you listen to the audio guide, it’s quite interesting to rewatch the first video (above). You’ll definitely see more linkages between French decorative art and Disney animation cells, and realize how inspirational some pieces were in the oeuvre of Disney animated films, from characters to sets and backdrops.
There is a lengthy video that explores the connections between visual references of French decorative art and Disney films more thoroughly. It’s amazing to see how ideas first crafted a century or two ago are brought to life in the animation of Disney films.