I have always appreciated the art of Mary Blair: the mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary, the artwork for Disney animation of the 1940’s and early 1950’s, the former mural in Tomorrowland at Disneyland and the iconic It’s a Small World.While her art has never followed traditional Disney style, I have always wondered at the stories of Walt Disney’s infatuation with her artwork. Was it the colors, the styles, or the children that were a focus? Did she share Walt’s unbridled optimism?
Blair showed him color and forms that constantly surprised and delighted him. They shared many sensibilities, including a childlike fondness for playfulness in imagery, alongside a seriousness of purpose even with playful things. Both were unafraid of hard work, and Disney appreciated Blair’s diligence in turning out many variations on a subject in order to give him choices. She was a prolific but inspired painting machine. —The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, p. X