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Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Maquettes

More posts of "Fantasia" items in the Cowan Collection...

I have always been impressed with the Maquettes.  While they were used to help the animators visualize the character from different angles, I have been amazed with how well the small figures also captured the essence of the character.
It took me 15 years to find a set and I feel lucky to have found these from "Fantasia."  Recently, photos of them appeared in Mandy Aloff's book "Hippo In A Tutu: Dance in Disney Animation.  I've put in several different types of images so you can get a better feel for the figures...
Maquettes (click to enlarge)
Ben Ali Gator

Elephancine Elephant
Hyacinth Hippo
Mille. Upanova

----- DATABASE NOTES -----
From “Fantasia” (1940).  A complete set of Maquettes (French for "scale model") from the film and painted by Mary Blair.  Included are: (1) Ben Ali Gator, (2) Elephancine elephant, (3) Hyacinth Hippo and (4) Mlle. Upanova.  Mint condition.  Acquired 2004.  SeqID-1156 1 thru 4   Updated: 7/30/2005

6/2/2008: Image selected for use by Ms. Mandy Aloff for her book - Aloff, Mindy. Hippo In A Tutu: Dance in Disney Animation. Los Angeles, CA: Disney Editions, 2008.


  1. The word is "maquette".

    Easy for me; I'm French!

    "Nobody's perfect", I guess! LOL!

  2. Thanks, FrenchDisneyFan, for the correction... Change made!

  3. I am curious as to the source you have that credits Mary Blair as being the painter?

  4. David...
    Good question about Mary Blair as the painter (or owned by). The only source I have on the Mary Blair aspect was from the seller (who has been selling in the field for a considerable period of time). There was no specific documentation nor anything written on the pieces. I will say, however, that they were mounted on a piece of wood to keep them from falling over and I have not disassembled them to see if there is any writing that is hidden....
    - In terms of the value, from my perspective the pieces were about the same value as a number of others that had been sold in the same time period. The Mary Blair aspect was did not inflate the price at that time. IF a premium was being asked, THEN a more definitive history would have been appropriate...

  5. Through my good friend Dennis Books, the story I have is that Helen Nervobig McIntosh led a unit that put together the cels for Courvoisier.

    Helen and her unit were also personally responsible for choosing the color scheme of each model, which they also painted.

  6. I meant to add as well that usually a "return to model dep't" ink stamp was all that would usually be found on the bottom of the maquettes.

    Sometimes a number may have been written on the bottom as well, which I think was used to record who had which maquette at any given time.

    My friend Dennis has the exact same set you have, except his is one of only two sets cast in bronze by Bob Jones, who with Joe Grant, were the leaders of the department.

  7. I know that Lee Blair did many watercolor studies for the "Dance of the Hours" segment, but I am not sure I've heard of Mary Blair being involved, especially with the maquettes. Still, maybe this is where the mixup occurred, since Lee was Mary's husband. This doesn't mean that Mary wasn't, of course! Still, congratulations on this amazing set of maquettes, they are fantastic and very rare.

  8. Major P...

    - Good point. And thanks for the comments about the maquettes.

    - I don't know how folks can piece together material from the Egyptian tombs and we still have trouble tracking down the details from the 1094's! But it's an interesting process!

    Bob ;D