Awakening Beauty Eyvind Earle

Awakening Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle

Awakening Beauty the Art of Eyvind Earle is a book that was published by The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press in conjunction with the exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. It was a retrospective exhibition of the Art of Eyvind Earle.

Fine Artists work for Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney always attracted great artists to work for his company. They were artists in their own right before the started to work for the Walt Disney Studios. Artists like Tyros Wong, Mary Blair all had an art career before they started to work at Disney. Even the surrealist painter Salvador Dali worked briefly at the Disney Studio. Eyvind Earle is no exception.

This books shows work before he started to work at Disney and the work he did for the Disney studios and the work he did after he left the Disney Studios. This book is a catalogue of the Exhibition in the Walt Disney Family Museum that was exhibited from May 18 2017 until January 8, 2018. It was curated by Michael Labrie and Ion Ssasz. 

Eyvind Earle

Awakening Beauty cover

Eyvind Earle was born in 1916 and started his career at age 11. His father gave him a challenge: read 50 pages of a book a day or paint a picture a day. Eyvind did both. His father was a matt painter in Hollywood and he encouraged young Eyvind to start painting. He traveled with his father to Mexico and throughout France painting everything he saw. His father was very violent and also abused him during the trips. He never wanted to paint again. At a young age he got polio which paralysed his face on the left side, his younger brother died from the disease.  At age 14 he had his first small solo exhibition. He returned to the United States in the 1930’s and started at United Artists as an assistant sketch artist. He left United Artists and traveled through Mexico for a year. In 1937 he bicycled cross country from Hollywood to New York painting and selling his watercolors to pay his way. Some of these watercolors were exhibited in New York. His art in those days was realistic in the style of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cesanne, Norman Rockwel and George O’Keefe. Slowly he started to develop his own style. In 1939 Eyvind started to make Christmas cards from linoleum prints. Disney Studios

From 1951 until 1959 he worked at the Walt Disney Studios. He started out as an assistant background painter and worked his way up as a color stylist and art director for Sleeping Beauty.

When he visited the Walt Disney Studios he saw the work of Mary Blair. Then he knew what he wanted to do at the Disney studios. Mary Blair was Walt Disney’s favourite artist and he always  felt it was a shame that her beautiful art did not end up on the screen. The Disney animator’s always had the last say in what would end up on the screen.

Disney asked Eyvind Earle to do the conceptual art and backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty. Eyvind Earle became the art-director for the movie and his art would end up on the screen. A lot to the dismay of the lead animators. They had  to model their characters after the designs of Eyvind. On the Special Edition Laserdisc and DVD there is a documentary about the making of Sleeping Beauty where you can see the way he painted the backgrounds. These videos are also posted on the site of Eyvind Earle.


Disneyland Europe

Disneyland Europe Castle

This year I visited Disneyland Europe with my nephew. Each Disney park has its own castle. Disneyland Anaheim has the Catsle of Snowwhite and Disneyworld Orlanda has the castle of Cinderella. Disneyland Europe has the castle of Sleeping Beauty. It is made in the style of Eyvind Earle. Even the mountain on which the castle stands and the trees are in his style.


Eyvind Earle Productions Inc.

In 1961 he started his own animation company Eyvind Earle Productions Inc. He produced trademark logo’s, film trailers, print advertisements, television commercials, and animated specials. After 1966 he started to concentrate on his own art again and painted and made sculptures  until his death on July 20, 2020. 

This book is a great retrospective of his distinct style.

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Weldon Owen (8 Aug. 2017)
Language: English

These links are affiliate links. I get a small percentage when a book is sold. With this I will buy new books to make more book reviews.