Hitting the Marc

Wife of late Disney artist Marc Davis will share some pieces that weren’t designed for film.

May 02, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Artist Marc Davis created the female countenances of Disney’s animated characters Cinderella and Cruella De Vil and was instrumental in adding life to three-dimensional Disneyland attractions like “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.”

But few have seen the fine art he made in his living room while watching TV after he got home from the office.

Alice Davis is accomplishing a longtime dream of her late husband by sharing a great body of that work for an exhibition opening Friday at Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale.


“I only wish Marc could be here to see it,” she said, adding that he had often expressed the hope that his personal work could be shown in a public gallery.

People only knew him as one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, the team of pioneering animators Walt Disney assembled in the 1930s to advance the art of motion picture animation. He started with Disney in 1935 when the studio was in Silver Lake and retired in the late 1970s.

A remarkable thing about the exhibition is how it shows his personal fine art, a side few people saw, said Jim Clark, ambassador representative with Walt Disney Imagineering.

“People who know Marc Davis’ work, what he did with Disney Studios and Imagineering, know how brilliant and talented he was, but people haven’t seen his fine art, which is very personal to him,” Clark said.

Joan Adan, museum exhibit designer/curator, suggested the idea of the exhibit to the art committee to fulfill the museum’s mission, she said.

“Our mission is to present a cultural, historical and a fine-art-themed exhibit each year,” she said. “All agreed that this would be a superb fine art exhibit. We were right!”

As one of the directing animators, Marc Davis’ early assignments were the first feature-length animated film “Snow White” and then “Bambi,” Alice Davis said.

“Walt knew you had to have great draftsmen to design realistic characters,” she said, adding that before these features the artists were better at drawing cartoon characters.

Not only were “Snow White’s characters anatomically correct, but Marc Davis would study human faces and instill nuances into his characters, she said.

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