Original concept art for Fantasia.
Original concept art for The Pastoral Symphony segment of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940). It depicts a young faun picking grapes and is signed M. Schwartzman on the verso. Melvin Schwartzman (1914–2012), later known as Mel Shaw, joined Walt Disney Studios in 1937 and worked as a concept artist and designer on several productions, including Bambi (1942). However, he left the studio in 1941 to serve as a filmmaker with the U.S. Army Signal Corp. The post-war years saw Shaw starting a design business with Bob Allen, before returning to Disney in 1974, where he contributed to several of the major features of the modern era, including The Rescuers (1977), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Lion King (1994). “Mel Shaw’s influence as an animation design artist extended over many decades and many studios. He worked with Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising in the early days of both the Warner Bros. and MGM cartoon studios. At the beginning of World War II, he contributed designs to Orson Welles’s never-realized film of Saint-Exupery»s The Little Prince. His best known artwork is the series of dramatic pastels in the title sequence of The Rescuers (1977), showing the bottle containing Penny’s call for help riding stormy seas. Shaw said the drawings were originally just preliminary studies for an animated sequence, but when director Woolie Reitherman saw them, he said they didn’t need to be animated – they could carry the sequence as they were” (Charles Solomon, Variety, 27 November 2012).
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Watercolour over pencil on paper. Sheet size: 30.3 x 25.3 cm. Production label to verso. Mounted, and presented in a manufactured gold leaf frame with conservation glass. In excellent condition.