Friday, January 22, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Maleficent set on a hand prepared background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent 8 1/4 x 13 1/4", Image 10 x 13 3/4", Mat 15 x 18 1/4"; Double matted.

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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!

Close up of the Maleficent original production animation cel.

If you ask people to name their favorite Disney Villain, chances are you will one of three answers; The Evil Queen/Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Cruella DeVil from "101 Dalmatians," or Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty." Two of the three, Cruella and Maleficent, were created/drawn by the great animator Marc Davis. Davis was part of what has been dubbed Disney's Nine Old Men; the core group of animators, some becoming directors, that created the finest animated films ranging from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 1937 to "The Rescuers", 1977.

The voice of Maleficent was performed by Eleanor Audley. She had worked for Disney prior by also being the voice for the cold and calculating Lady Tremaine (The Stepmother) in "Cinderella." If is known that Frank Thomas for Lady Tremaine and Marc Davis for Maleficent, incorporated facials features of Eleanor into both characters.

Double matted original production animation cel of Maleficent.

This is a large cel of Maleficent from the scene in the film when she is trying to stop Prince Phillip from escaping from her castle and from reaching Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent's eyes are open, her robes are blowing in the wind behind her, and she is grasping her staff. She also is wearing her ever present frown and she measures an impressive 8 1/4" x 13 1/4". The cel has been placed on a hand prepared background that enhances the beauty of the artwork. This is a great piece and a wonderful addition to any collection.