BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Disney


First Edition – 1973

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I was driving around Windsor, ON, recently looking for antique stores where I could find Disney collectibles. After leaving one we already knew about we drove past a used book store in an old house. Upon entering, the gentleman behind the counter told us it was his tenth anniversary in business and so everything in the store was 25% off. This was a good start!

He then notified us that the house had 12 rooms, each packed with books of every genre. He wasn’t kidding! But after a thorough search, I turned up nothing Disney. Until we were on our way out, and I spied this great book:

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Without clear dust cover

Most have seen this book or may have a copy. Perhaps it is more likely that the copy one would have would be a second or later edition, although the first editions aren’t that rare if eBay is any indication! Later editions do not appear to be as elaborate as the First Edition, as the next picture will show:

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Mickey is in 1/8″ relief

The Art of Walt Disney was first published in 1973 but obviously would need to be revised as the years passed and new movies and Theme Parks were created. Later editions had him simply printed on the cover (such as the 2004 edition), and the pose was changed. There was also a 1975 paperback edition. A major 2011 revision (which had some 50 percent of the text being new, with 200 new illustrations) carries the Disney story up to the current feature films of the day.

This is what one seller on eBay had to say about the 2011 edition:

First published in 1973, The Art of Walt Disney is one of the most successful and influential illustrated art books on American popular culture ever published. This book was the first to reveal the wealth of concept art, animation drawings, and archival material created in the course of animating films. In this newly revised edition, author Christopher Finch has thoroughly reworked every chapter to incorporate the vast achievements of The Walt Disney Company in filmmaking, theater, and theme parks, from Walt’s day to the present, including all-new exciting chapters on Pixar Animation Studio and Walt Disney Animation along with extensive interviews with their chief creative officer, John Lasseter, and president, Ed Catmull. Offering hundreds of new images and unparalleled access to leading filmmakers and artists at The Walt Disney Company, The Art of Walt Disney will once again capture the imaginations of animation fans young and old.

So enough with the words as we are reviewing an art book. It’s time to see some of the great artwork featured among its pages, especially the fold-outs:

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Book measures 13.5″ H x 10.5″ W x 2.25″ D

With such a large format, some of the fold-out pictures are over 40″ long, such as the one above (fifth up from here) featuring Pinocchio’s village. The prices vary greatly for this book with some pricing on eBay being quite low, but watch out for that shipping charge! This book is heavy.

This is a wonderful visual history of the Walt Disney company’s creative output from the beginning to 1970 (ending coverage with The Aristocats).

Check out tomorrows post for another Book Review: Walt Disney – An American Original by Bob Thomas. The link will be live on March 7th at 7 am.

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