Saturday, December 24, 2011

David Hall Original Watercolor of Alice and the Caterpillar

Set the wayback machine to 1991. I had recently visited Howard Lowery's auction gallery shop in Burbank for the very first time, and I discovered this amazing book that had been published 5 years previously. The original Carroll "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", but with amazing illustrations from the Disney archives by a gentleman named David Hall, and an afterword by Brian Sibley that detailed his history with the studio and the story of this art. I was totally blown away.
Having only been collecting Alice for about two years at this point, I was not familiar with this artist, but I soon discovered that he had made another appearance over the years: The book Surprise Package, published in 1943, was chock full of David Hall art in the Alice story, which I've previously posted about here, here, and here.
It was at this point that I developed a fairly intense obsession with acquiring an original David Hall, and being the compulsive individual that I am, I managed over the course of about 20 years to acquire seven original illustrations, all from the Surprise Package book. But they were all black and white. I had never seen a color David Hall 'in the wild'. In the past few years I have seen one or two color David Hall paintings, but mostly from Peter Pan, although I did see one Alice study in a private collection.

Flash forward to about two months ago. I came across a very brief description of a piece of art in an upcoming auction that piqued my interest. I had never heard of the auction house in question, but I went to their site and discovered that they are a fine art auction house (you know, 'real' art). But this upcoming auction had one lot described as follows:

David G. Hall Jr.
(American, 20th century)
Alice in Wonderland, 1939
watercolor on paper
signed David Hall (upper left)
10 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches.
Property from the Ralph Esmerian Collection, New York, New York

So I emailed requesting images and a condition report. OMFG. This is what they sent me.
This was an original Disney David Hall watercolor, which had been published in both Surprise Package and in the aforementioned 1986 Alice book from the studio. I couldn't believe my eyes! Where did this come from? I thought that all the illustrations in the studio book were a part of the Disney archive. Until I looked more closely at those printed pages.
In Surprise Package, the image is fairly severely cropped, I guess to show more character and less background. Then when I looked at the studio book, I realized that they had merely scanned the Surprise package illustration, as it is the same crop and the quality of the image is nowhere near as crisp as most of the other images. This was indeed the original art sent to Simon and Schuster for inclusion in Surprise Package. This lends more evidence to my long-standing suspicion that all the extant David Hall Alice art (with one or two exceptions) comes from the batch of illustrations supplied for Surprise Package.
So, now I knew this was the real deal, and based on the (ridiculously low) estimate provided in the auction description, it was within my reach. But only if no one else who really understood what it was became aware of the auction. In the past I have publicized upcoming auctions with Alice art, but in this case, I kept my mouth shut. I couldn't risk anyone figuring out what it was, and the auction house is obscure enough in Disney circles that it seemed unlikely that Disney art collectors would stumble across it. So I kept my secret for nearly two months.

Now it is December 11th, and the auction is upon me. I'm sitting at my computer screen, with my wife cheering me on, and the auction begins. It is fairly near the middle of the auction so we've got time to wait, and we talk about limits, and have fun looking at what other people are buying. And then the lot comes up, and my absentee bid is the high bid. Two more people bid, then I bid again, and then a very long pause. My wife is screaming at the computer "Close it! Close it!". And . . .

I WON!!! I couldn't believe my insane luck, and I'm sure my friends in Los Angeles could hear me screaming from here in DC. So, now all I had to do was wait for it to arrive.

Which it did yesterday! Computer Girl is back from grad school in Glasgow for the Christmas holidays, and photo documented the arrival and unveiling, which I now share with you here. Merry Christmas to me!
Doorbell rings, it's FedEx!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I've Been Keeping a Big Secret...

But tomorrow you'll see what I've been so excited about for the past couple of months.  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Wonderland Bazaar Now Open!

I've just added the first two items to my Holiday Wonderland Bazaar, in the Ceramics section.  I am going to continue to post new items through New Year's to the Bazaar, get 'em while they're hot!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all! A twisted cover to Disney Newsreel from Thanksgiving, November 27, 1981.
Sorry for the radio silence these past few days, I will resume a more regular schedule beginning the first week in December. See you all then!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

LCSNA Fall Meeting This Saturday in NYC

For those of you in the NYC area this weekend, the Lewis Carroll Society will be holding its annual Fall Meeting at the New York Institute of Technology at 16 W. 61st St, beginning at noon.  Meeting is free to the public.  I will be there, with an assortment of Alice goodies for sale, so come on buy [sic!].

Friday, November 4, 2011

Original Storyboard of Alice in the Tulgey Wood

Wow.  Was I ever excited to get my hands on this beautiful piece!  This is an original pastel storyboard on black paper, featuring Alice walking through the Tulgey Wood, presumably with the Cheshire Cat.
While it is not signed, it is attributed to Bill Peet, who did quite a bit of story art for Alice, as seen in this post.  The art is very dark, I did pump up the colors a bit so they would be more visible out here on the web.  Gotta find the perfect place to hang this...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mickey Mouse Weekly #599 from England - November 3rd, 1951

This week's issue features a cover story with no Disney characters at all, but a slew of anthropomorphic fireworks!
Chapter 16 finds Alice deep in conversation with the Caterpillar, who undergoes a dramatic transformation at the end.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disneyland Black and White Snapshot of the Mad Hatter, Fantasy Fair Gifts

Admittedly this is a pretty crappy photograph, but I'm a sucker for ole' rubber head. 
Another 1960s or 1970s snapshot, from January apparently, of the Mad Hatter, this time out in front of the Fantasy Fair Gift Shop.  You can see the old style awnings that were a fixture of the old Fantasyland.  My vintage Disneyland geography is pretty much non-existent, I will rely on wiser bloggers to tell me where this was in relation to today's park.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Disneyland or WDW Color Backstage Snapshot of the King of Hearts

From the same photo session as the previously seen Queen, we have her royal consort, the King!
This little guy is RARELY spotted these days, usually only in parades, and even then, I don't think I've personally seen him in the last 15 years at least!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween - Caterpillar Jack'o'Lantern

Happy Halloween everyone!  And Happy Birthday to me!  Today's artwork comes from a few years ago when my family took a Disney Cruise during the week of Halloween, and I got to celebrate my birthday onboard the ship, it was great.
For my birthday, a friend of mine drew this fetching image and stuck it to my stateroom door.  What a nice birthday surprise!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Disneyland or WDW Color Backstage Snapshot of the Queen of Hearts

The person I acquired these from said these were taken backstage at WDW prior to the park opening in 1971.  The snapshot is dated July '71, approximately 2 months prior to the opening. 
I suppose it is possible that they were rehearsing parades and such that much in advance, but I kinda doubt it. I think this was probably taken backstage at Disneyland.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disneyland Black and White Snapshot of the Mad Hatter - Old Rubber Head Version with a Modification?

A very well behaved Mad Hatter photographed here all by himself.  Again, something that would never happen these days as the characters get mobbed immediately when they appear.  But what's that on his hat?
How bizarre, a San Diego Padres button.  Was Disneyland hosting some sort of Padres event that day?  I can't imaging any other reason that a button like that would be on his hat, unless he didn't know it was there.
Padres memorabilia collectors could probably date this photo based on the button, but I'm guessing 1970s.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Disneyland Color Snapshot of Alice and the White Rabbit

I just got in a batch of vintage photos of the walkaround characters, thought I'd spend a few days posting them.  First up, Alice and the White Rabbit.  I love this photo.  Alice having her apron strings tied (untied?) by the White Rabbit.  You'd never see these kinds of things in the park today, and I for one think that is kinda sad.
Based on the format, costumes, and the way the color has faded, I'd place this somewhere in the mid-late 1960s.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mickey Mouse Weekly #598 from England - October 27th, 1951

Back on schedule now with issue 598, this time featuring Donald in a story called simply Stampede!  Any story with Donald must have an exclamation point in the title.
Chapter 15 finds Alice being unceremoniously ejected from the Garden of Live Flowers, and encountering (yay!) the Caterpillar!.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mickey Mouse Weekly #597 from England - October 20th, 1951

Ok, I suck.  Or at least I suck at the new Blogger scheduling function.  But, better late than never.  Here we have the next installment in our MMW series, this time featuring a very cool cover with Goofy sleepwalking amongst some ghostly inhabitants.
Chapter 14 brings Alice to the Garden of Live Flowers, with all its various floral and insectoid inhabitants.  I've always loved Bread and Butter Flies.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Mary Blair - Google Style!

How about that?  Google honored Mary Blair's 100th birthday today.  I guess she has hit the mainstream consciousness, bad news for me since I still don't own a Mary Blair piece. 
In honor of this amazing artist's 100th year, here are a few of her exceptional Alice pieces.  Enjoy.

Mickey Magazine #211 from Belgium - October 21st, 1954

Earlier this year you may remember I did an entire series on the Belgian Mickey Magazine serialization of Alice. 
A few years later, in issue #211, they printed a promotional photo of Walt Disney drawing Alice.  This was clearly meant to be used during the original run of the feature film, I wonder why they chose to run this particular photo nearly 3 years after the release?  Surely there were other photos available.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Italian Full Page Magazine Ad

This large format full page ad features exceptional art of Alice with Figaro-as-Dinah (as previously mentioned in this post from several years ago), along with lots of other denizens of Wonderland.  This image was also used for a small store display that I have hiding somewhere, as well as a large movie poster, both from Italy.  I do not know if this is Al Dempster art, but it certainly looks adapted from it if it is not.  Notice that the ad also mentions Nature's Half Acre (la Terra Questa Sconosciuta), the True-Life Adventure that was in front of Alice in its original release.
I do not know from which magazine this came, but the reverse has an ad for Aurum, a sweet liquor popular in Italy.  If anyone has any information on the source magazine, please let me know!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vacationland Magazine Summer 1964

I love this cover, using the same photo as on the Disneyland Tencennial Trading card in this post, but one year earlier.
I especially like the composition of the photo, taken from inside the rabbit hole looking out at the Caterpillar car.  I must say, I wouldn't be caught dead selling balloons in 1964 if I had to dress like Pinocchio, but it looks cute in this photo.

The insides are filled with standard articles about Disneyland and surrounding attractions, but I must say the article on the Disneyland Tour Guides is a hoot.  Pert brunettes from Lancashire England must have been all the rage in 1964.