Monday, September 16, 2013

2006-2007 Disney Art Exhibit in Paris

Exhibit Catalog Front Cover

A French museum exhibit entitled, Il était une fois Walt Disney - Aux sources de l’art des studios Disney, examined the inspirational sources which influenced the Disney Studio during its Golden Age. The exhibition was held at the Grand Palais in Paris from September 19, 2006 to January 15, 2007. It was then moved to the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal where it ran from March 8 to June 24, 2007.

Billboard outside the Grand Palais + Panoramic blow-up of Snow White concept art along inside walkway via Animated Views

The pieces were arranged so that the Disney work was displayed side-by-side with the original European art which influenced it. The Exhibition Catalog was quite large at 336 pages, and Snow White was well represented in sketches, backgrounds, and cels. Several examples follow...

Pages 46-47. Paul Ranson Witch and Cat (1893); Old Hag.

Page 58-59. Ferdinand Horvath's dark forest sketch (1937); Eugene Grasset Three Women and Three Wolves (1900).

Pages 92-93. Snow at the well; Maxfield Parrish Snow Drop (1912).

Pages 94-95. Two from Marianne Stokes.

Page 97. There were of course other influences too, like from Hollywood films. The Balcony scene in the 1936 Cukor version of Romeo and Juliet very much foreshadows that of Snow White.

Pages 112-113. Gustave Dore illustration for Purgatory (1868); Snow White surrounded by hands.

Page 115. Snow White in dark forest; Arthur Rackman illustration for Midsummer Night's Dream (1909).

Pages 136-137. More Hollywood influences, star Janet Gaynor for Snow White.

Pages 202-203. Joan Crawford for the Queen; Statue of Uta at Naumburger Catherdral.

Also on display were Walt Disney's Snow White Oscars along with an original 1937 one-sheet.

For those not wanting the full bulk of the Exhibition Catalog, they could instead purchase a smaller 48 page Official Album.

In addition, patrons could also take home a DVD. The 48 Minute documentary is entitled Once Upon A Time…Walt Disney and examines the artistic sources of inspiration for the Disney films, presented in both French and English. A bonus track was included too--the full-length 1916 Snow White silent film starring Marguerite Clark.

Snow White showed up at the museum gift shop too, in the form of shirts, tote bags, magnets, lithographs and more.

Poster + Snow magnet.


Gift shop images courtesy of Animated Views + Disney Showcase Key.


In the last exhibit room, guests could view modern works that were inspired by Disney, most of which were pretty recent. A few of these pieces, including some images of the Old Hag, were highlighted in a 2006 Paris art periodical.

The magazine write-up also showed a side-by-side comparison of Snow White with Janet Gaynor.

In the end, the exhibition drew large crowds and was very well received. All images (unless otherwise noted) and additional info courtesy Greg Philip of A Lost Film.


  1. I love the veil and sleeve accents (do those have a name?) for the drawings on page 137! I can understand why those would not be animated in the movie, but they really add a touch of elegance to the costume.

    1. Not sure what they're called, but some of the artistry in the pre-production drawings does have a real elegance to it.