Last year I made my first visit to the Forest Lawn Museum and was struck by the quality of works on display. This exhibition space tucked in a corner of the massive cemetery seemed hardly the place for high caliber artwork. Yet, there it is showcasing a large variety of pieces from various eras. On Saturday, I returned to the gallery to view the latest exhibition – Eyvind Earle: An Exhibit of a Disney Legend.
Eyvind Earle, born in 1916, began painting at an early age and had his first exhibition at age 14. By the time he was 23 the Metropolitan Museum of Art had purchased one of his pieces for their permanent collection. Later in his career he joined the animation department at Disney and contributed to several of their treasured films including Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. In fact, the look of Sleeping Beauty is largely due to his styling and background illustrations.
After Disney, he continued to work full time as a painter and created pieces until his death in 2000.
The exhibition at Forest Lawn contains a wide variety of his work from sketches to painting to sculpture. These highly stylized pieces conjure a unique world entirely of his making.
The paintings are especially striking with their combination of the darkest of blacks and the brightest of colors. I particularly enjoyed the above piece, Blazing Glory. What is this magical grove of trees? Is it nightfall? Sunset? Sunrise? Why is only one tree blue? My questions were endless as I viewed the work.
I also love Three Noble Horses. Looking unlike any horses in nature it manages to express the exact nature of the animal. Athletic, powerful and, yes, noble.
The opening drew quite a large crowded, much larger than I had anticipated, and it’s no wonder. The exhibit brings to the fore a side of the Disney artist that we often don’t get to see. It reminds us how talented they are beyond the confines of the studio. Mr. Earle’s works are unique and beautiful and they exhibit showcases them wonderfully. It runs through January 1, 2017 and is well worth seeing.