Google Doodle Honors Late, Great Disney Artist Mary Blair

Geek Culture

There’s a new Google Doodle, and this time it’s a little unusual: Not only is it a tribute to a relatively little-known person but it is also, for the first time in a while, not interactive. The honoree is a woman named Mary Blair, who was a prominent artist for the Walt Disney Company for several decades, and the Doodle is styled in a way that makes it an excellent homage to the art for which Blair was known.

Born Mary Browne Robinson in Oklahoma exactly one hundred years ago today (hence the Doodle), Blair started her career working for the Harman-Ising animation studio at MGM, but left in 1940 to work for Walt Disney. She introduced modern art techniques to the Disney studios, and contributed many ideas to some of Disney’s best-known postwar features, including Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland.

Blair’s style may be best observed by a visit to one of the Disney theme parks. She worked with Walt Disney himself on the design of the It’s a Small World attraction, initially for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, which has since been recreated in every Disney theme park the world over. She also created or helped to create artwork and designs for various murals and attractions in Disneyland and some of the original artwork for Walt Disney World’s resorts — some of her work can still be seen in both parks today.

After Peter Pan, Blair resigned from Disney and went to work as a freelance illustrator, creating artwork for advertising campaigns and children’s books. She passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage on July 26, 1978. In 1991, she was posthumously inducted into the Disney Legends program, and you can read more about her on her Legends webpage.

You can see samples of some of her art here.

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