The Huntington | ‘Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts’

The international traveling exhibition explores 18th-century French decorative arts as inspiration for Disney’s celebrated animated films, including Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

Frank Armitage, Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant, Disneyland Paris, 1988. Gouache and acrylic on board, 45 x 21 in. (114.3 x 53.3 cm). Walt Disney Imagineering Collection. ©Disney.

News provided by The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens will present the international traveling exhibition “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” from Dec. 10, 2022, through March 27, 2023. Organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Wallace Collection in London in association with The Huntington, the exhibition explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.

Jean-Baptiste Pater (French, 1695–1736), The Swing, ca. 1730. Oil on canvas, 18 x 21 3/8 in. (45.7 x 54.3 cm). Adele S. Browning Memorial Collection. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Approximately 50 works of 18th-century European decorative art and design, many of which are drawn from The Huntington’s significant collection, will be featured alongside hand-drawn production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection, and The Walt Disney Family Museum.

- Advertisement -

The exhibition’s presentation at The Huntington coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Walt Disney Company.

Attributed to Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716–1791), Sèvres Manufactory (French, founded 1740), Tower vase with cover (vase en tour), ca. 1762. Soft-paste porcelain, overglaze pink and blue ground colors, polychrome enamel decoration, and gilding, 20 1/2 x 9 x 9 in. (52.1 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm). The Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

“We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues at the Met and the Wallace Collection to bring ‘Inspiring Walt Disney’ to Southern California,” said Christina Nielsen, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington. “The exhibition is a fun and fascinating way to share with a wide audience works from The Huntington’s stellar collection of French decorative art, which are key examples of how art history has inspired popular culture.”

“Inspiring Walt Disney” originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it ran from Dec. 10, 2021, through March 6, 2022; it is on view at the Wallace Collection in London from April 6, 2022, through Oct. 16, 2022.

About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a cultural and educational institution of global significance. Building on Henry E. and Arabella Huntington’s renowned collections, The Huntington supports research and promotes education in the arts, humanities, and botanical science through the growth and preservation of its collections; the development of a community of scholars, school programs, and partnerships; and the display and interpretation of its extraordinary resources for diverse audiences.