Aurelius BattagliaOccupation / Title:
1910Date of death:
Aurelius Battaglia was born in Washington, D.C. in 1910, the son of Guiseppe and Concetta Battaglia, who had emigrated from Cefalu, Italy.
Battaglia migrated west in the late 1930s and worked for the Walt Disney studio from 1937 to 1941. He contributed most notably to “Dumbo” and “Pinocchio” and is credited as one of the writers of the latter. In the mid-1950s, Battaglia joined United Productions of America, a studio staffed by some of the industry’s most accomplished, forward-thinking animation artists. Perhaps his most outstanding UPA contribution was the short film “The Invisible Moustache of Raoul Dufy.” Battaglia directed the film, which was nominated for a BAFTA award.
Battaglia was also a prolific children’s book illustrator. His picture book work in the 1950s and 60s differs significantly from the deco-inspired circus animals of his depression-era murals. They feature bold, solid colors and striking, stylized pen and brush work indicative of the looser, more abstract mid-century cartooning style that he helped pioneer. Notable examples include “Cowboy Jack, the Sheriff,” “The Fire Engine Book,” “Little Boy With a Big Horn,” “When I Met Robin,” “Captain Kangaroo’s Read-Aloud Book” and “The Fireside Book of American Folk Songs.” Contributed to the Childcraft book series published by Field Enterprises. Battaglia moved to Provincetown, Mass., where he continued to work until his death in May of 1984.
In the 1930s, Battaglia worked in a flowing, deco-influenced, organic style informed by classic European illustration. His later children’s book and animation work was emblematic of the radical, more abstract stylization prevalent in the 1950s and ‘60s, a trend he helped to establish.
Honors and awards
1955 BAFTA Award nomination, best animated film