Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Original Production Cel of Maleficent and Diablo from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Maleficent and Diablo set on a lithographic background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent & Diablo 8 3/4" x 7", Image 11 1/4" x 10"; Original Walt Disney Art Corner sticker and backing board; Unframed.

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!

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 have Maleficent's eyes closed. She was generally calm and sublime during most of 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!

Maleficent and Diablo cel without the background.

Diablo perched on Maleficent's hand is just a fantastic image, and it was this image that was used when Disney Studios produced a limited edition cel that was part of their Villains Collection. This cel is from the scene when Maleficent visits Prince Phillip, who is her prisoner in her dungeon. She torments him with a story about the fact that although he will grow old, Princess Aurora will remain in an ageless slumber. When he is eventually freed from Maleficent's castle, he will be to old to have any type of life with her. As Maleficent turns to leave the shackled Prince in his stone dungeon cell, she says to her pet raven Diablo (now perched on her hand), "Come, my pet. Let us leave our noble prince with these happy thoughts."

Backing board of the Maleficent cel with the original Walt Disney Art Corner label.