Friday, February 13, 2015

Maleficent and Diablo Cel from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 - "I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Maleficent and Diablo set on a lithographic background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent & Diablo 7 1/2" x 5 3/4", Cel 10 3/4" x 10 1/2", Mat 15 3/4" x 17 3/4", Mat Opening 7 3/4" x 9 3/4"; Matted.

Initially Marc Davis, the animator for Maleficent, had wanted to use a black and red color scheme for the character however; Eyvind Earle, the background artist for the film, protested.  Walt Disney had taken some criticism over his recent films for their lack of artistic achievement and so he had decided to put in charge an already accomplished Disney animation artist.  Eyvind Earle had already been working at the Disney Animation Studios and was receiving acclaim for his artistic vision and technical skill and so he was chosen by Disney to supervise the styling, color, and backgrounds for "Sleeping Beauty."  The film took six years to complete due to Earle's extreme attention to detail.  Normal backgrounds for prior Disney films would take a day, however the Earle backgrounds could take up to ten days.  In addition, Earle reworked not only the colors for Maleficent but the character design for Briar Rose so that she would work better with his pre-Renaissance Gothic vision for "Sleeping Beauty."  "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 was the last of the Disney films that all the cels were both hand inked and hand painted, and many believe it to be one of the most beautiful and one of the greatest Disney films ever!

Maleficent and Diablo cel without the background.

Not all cels of the same character are priced the same.  I recall a Gallery that was charging the same price for a front facing, eyes and mouth open, full figure image of Bambi; as they were for a butt shot with just a back of the head showing.  The front images were all snapped up fast and the remainder languished on their site year after year, after year.  The simple fact is that collectors want wonderfully beautiful images for their walls and will pay much more for these unique cels.  Eyes and mouth open vs. eyes and mouth closed can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars difference.  In reference to this work, so many cels from this sequence have Maleficent's eyes closed.  She was calm and sublime during her first appearance in the film, and so animator Marc Davis had her constantly closing her eyes.  This, however is just a wonderful image of both Maleficent and her raven Diablo!

Photograph showing the matted cel.

After Maleficent makes an appearance in the great hall to celebrate the birth of Princess Aurora, the Fairy Merriweather tells Maleficent that she was not wanted there and Maleficent says, "Not wa--Oh, dear, what an awkward situation. I had hoped it was merely due to some oversight. Well, in that event, I'd best be on my way."  The Queen responds, "And you're not offended, Your Excellency?"  It is at this point that Maleficent says one of her most famous lines, "Why, no, Your Majesty. And to show I bear no ill will, I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."  This cel being offered for sale is when Maleficent says that very last line!

To view this cel in the film, click on the short video below: