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Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts

Burchard, Wolf
240 pages
212 illustrations
9 x 11 in.
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Pink castles, talking sofas, and objects coming to life: what may sound like the fantasies of Hollywood dream-maker Walt Disney were in fact the figments of the colorful salons of Rococo Paris. Exploring the novel use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks, this publication features forty works of eighteenth-century European design—from tapestries and furniture to Boulle clocks and Sèvres porcelain—alongside 150 Disney film stills, drawings, and other works on paper. The text connects these art forms through a shared dedication to craftsmanship and highlights references to European art in Disney films, including nods to Gothic Revival architecture in Cinderella (1950); bejeweled, medieval manuscripts in Sleeping Beauty (1959); and Rococo-inspired furnishings and objects brought to life in Beauty and the Beast (1991). Bridging fact and fantasy, this book draws remarkable new parallels between Disney’s magical creations and their artistic inspirations.

Met Art in Publication

The Vultures, Walt Disney Studios  American, Gouache on two layers of celluloid over watercolor and gouache background
ca. 1937
Dwarfs, Walt Disney Enterprises  American, Celluloid
Wall sconce (bras de cheminée) (one of a pair), Sèvres Manufactory  French, Soft-paste porcelain, gilt bronze, French, Sèvres
ca. 1761
Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres, Denis Diderot  French
Multiple artists/makers
The Magic Lantern, Sèvres Manufactory  French, Soft-paste biscuit porcelain, French, Sèvres
Multiple artists/makers
ca. 1760
Faustina Bordoni and Fox, Meissen Manufactory  German, Hard-paste porcelain, German, Meissen
ca. 1743
Two Opera Singers, Meissen Manufactory  German, Hard-paste porcelain, German, Meissen
Multiple artists/makers
Lady and gentleman playing a duet, Meissen Manufactory  German, Hard-paste porcelain, German, Meissen
Dancer (one of a pair), Höchst Manufactory  German, Hard-paste porcelain, German, Höchst
ca. 1758
The Evil Queen, Walt Disney Enterprises  American, Celluloid
ca. 1937
The Unicorn Purifies Water (from the Unicorn Tapestries), Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts, French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
French (cartoon)/South Netherlandish (woven)
Shepherd and Shepherdess Making Music, Wool warp;  wool and silk wefts, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
ca. 1500–1530
Automaton in the form of a chariot pushed by a Chinese attendant and set with a clock, James Cox  British, Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: white enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewels, British, London
The Swing, Hubert Robert  French, Oil on canvas
Embroidered panels for a man's suit, Silk embroidery on woven silk, satin stitch; stem stitch, knots and silk net, French
Vase (vase à tête d'éléphant) (one of a pair), Jean-Claude Duplessis  French, Soft-paste porcelain decorated in polychrome enamels, gold, French, Sèvres
ca. 1758
Lion (one of a pair), Meissen Manufactory  German, Hard-paste porcelain, German, Meissen
ca. 1732
Le sopha : conte moral, Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon  French
Sofa (ottomane veilleuse), Jean-Baptiste I Tilliard or French, Carved and gilded beechwood, upholstered in modern red velours de Gênes, French
ca. 1750–60
Clock with pedestal, André Charles Boulle  French, Case and pedestal of oak with marquetry of tortoiseshell, engraved brass, and pewter; gilt bronze; dial of gilt brass with white enameled Arabic numerals; movement of brass and steel, French, Paris
Multiple artists/makers
ca. 1690
Showing 20 of 33

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View Citations

Burchard, Wolf. 2021. Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.