UPDATE: 6/3/2010...Through the wonder of communications, I just received an email from Irene Kanelstein with a few corrections. She noted that she did not receive a prize of $300, which way my mistake. The newspaper article stated that she received the cel which was valued at $300. In addition she notes that she sold the item because of the effects of Florida weather on the cel and not, as I had been told, to help raise funds for cancer treatment. It was a thrill to hear from her and the exchange further supports the great power of the internet!
This is my favorite group of items. In 1941, Disney and the New York Federation of Music Clubs conducted a contest for the best essay entitled "What I Like Best In Fantasia." The winner, 13 year-old Irene Kanelstein, was given a cel of Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice and a dedication by Walt Disney. The two items were put together by Courvoisier Galleries. When I received the artwork, I was surprised to discover on the back of the frame the original essay that Ms. Kanelstein submitted and a newspaper clipping from the June 13, 1941 "New York Times." We felt that the additional material should be displayed and since the original frame was in poor condition, we had the whole group re-framed and placed side-by-side. Of note, Ms. Kanelstein was also given a $300 prize -- which, using the Consumer Price Index, was worth a little over $4,000 in 2008 dollars. The cel is great, Walt's note to Ms. Kanelstein is nice and the additional material provides a fantastic back-story to the whole grouping... The material was the property of Ms. Kenelstein until a few years ago when she sold it at auction to pay for cancer treatments.
Disney Autograph, Mickey Cel and Historical Papers (click to enlarge)
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From “Fantasia” (1940). A gouache on celluloid depicts Mickey Mouse instructing a broom to fill up the buckets from THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE section of the film, applied to a production watercolor background, inscribed lower right “My Best Wishes to Irene Kenelstein - Winner Fantasia Essay Contest Walt Disney.” On the back is a . The consignor won this as a prize for the best essay on "What I Like Best in Fantasia," a competition put on by the New York Federation of Music Clubs. Another frame includes the Courvoisier Galleries label stating "This original 'background' and 'cel' painting from the Walt Disney Studios was used in the filming of Fantasia, "the essay that she submitted when she was thirteen years old and a newspaper article from The New York Times, June 13, 1941 entitled "Wins Music Clubs' Prize, Irene Kanelstein, Recipient of the Fantasia Award". SeqID 1146 8/1/2005