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When Disney’s Mary Blair was working to design “It’s a Small World” for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in New York City, she was incredibly up to date with art and design of the era.  Below are photographs of the ride’s facade at Disneyland.

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Below are concept sketches for the facade by Mary Blair, along with a video where she talks about the design process with Walt Disney prior to moving the ride to Disneyland from the World’s Fair.

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Blair may have been influenced by the work of Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, and Stig Lindberg; all who were incredibly popular at the time and were working with stacked shapes. Other artists may have included glass artist Georges Briard and fine artist Louise Nevelson.

Artwork by Stig Lindberg which incorporated stacked shapes

Artwork by Stig Lindberg which incorporated stacked shapes

Alexander and Susan Girard at the Herman Miller showroom with stacked shape artwork

Alexander and Susan Girard at the Herman Miller showroom with stacked shape artwork

Mr. Eames at home with stacked shapes

Mr. Eames at home with stacked shapes

Glass tray by Georges Briard

Glass tray by Georges Briard

Louise Nevelson's "Sky Cathedral"

Louise Nevelson's "Sky Cathedral"

Another of Louise Nevelson's wooden sculptures

Another of Louise Nevelson's wooden sculptures

The original World’s Fair ride also incorporated a kinetic sculpture titled “The Tower of the 4 Winds” designed by Rolly Crump. Unfortunately the tower was torn down when the fair ended.

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Crump and Disney with a model of "The Tower of the 4 Winds"

Crump and Disney with a model of "The Tower of the 4 Winds"

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Rolly Crump's "Tower of the 4 Winds" outside of "It's a Small World" at the New York World's Fair

Crump also may have been influenced by the work of Charles & Ray Eames and their solar powered “Do Nothing Machine”

Charles Eames with his solar powered toy

Charles Eames with his solar powered toy

The solar powered toy designed by Charles and Ray Eames

The solar powered toy designed by Charles and Ray Eames

Here are some more Mary Blair-isms that I found at Disneland:

Castle on top of a vendor

Castle on top of a vendor

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Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981) was a German artist and animator who created a plethora of animated films and shorts during her lifetime. Reiniger is noted for her creation of “Silhouette Animation” and credited with the development of the first full length animated feature “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” in 1926. Reiniger’s animation style may have been influenced by the Indonesian art of Wayang shadow puppets.

Wayang Kulit puppet from Java Indonesia

Wayang Kulit puppet from Java Indonesia

Each of Reiniger’s shadow figures were painstakingly cut and joined together with wire by hand. Each joint was moved individually and photographed as early stop motion animation.

Figures on the glass background during the filming of "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" - 1926

Figures on the glass background during the filming of "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" - 1926

After the filming, the backgrounds were color tinted. Below are some amazing stills from various films.

Still from "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

Still from "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

Still from "The Frog Prince"

Still from "The Frog Prince"

The final project appears as the below clip from Lotte Reiniger’s “Cinderella” from the early 1950’s

You can see the influence that Reiniger’s animation had on other noted animators such as Mary Blair. Blair developed concepts for Disney classics such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Peter Pan”, and “It’s a Small World” Some of Blair’s concept sketches for Disney are below.

Mary Blair concept art from "Cinderella"

Mary Blair concept art from Disney's "Cinderella"

More concept art for Disney's "Cinderella" by Blair

More concept art for Disney's "Cinderella" by Blair

Blair's concept art for "Alice in Wonderland"

Blair's concept art for "Alice in Wonderland"