First-ever Disney show at the Met will examine how European art influenced the studio

In all, Inspire Walt Disney will present 40 works of European decorative art and design from the 18th century. Exhibits will include porcelain figurines, tapestries, portraits and (for The beauty and the Beast fans), clocks, candlesticks and teapots.

The exhibition will also feature 150 production works and works on paper from the Disney Archives. The contributions of studio artists Bianca Majolie and Mary Blair, in particular for Cinderella, will be highlighted, as will the medieval sources Eyvind Earle consulted for the style of The Sleeping Beauty. Another important section will focus on The beauty and the Beast, whose inspiration Glen Keane was inspired by Auguste Rodin’s “Bourgeois de Calais” for the transformation scene of the Beast. Another part of the exhibition will highlight the influence of French and German architecture on Disney’s castles, both in its films and in its parks.

Inspire Walt Disney is organized by Wolf Burchard, Associate Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Met. We’ve already written about Burchard’s companion book, which will be published by Yale University Press. The exhibition is co-organized by The Wallace Collection in London, where it will move next spring.

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