Mary Blair

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Full Name:

Mary Blair

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Blair graduated from the Chouinard School of Art which became known as the California School of Watercolor. She wanted to become a fine art watercolorist, but because of the great depression it was not a dream she could achieve. She soon married Lee Blair, and they both began working for Disney in 1934. For the next 37 years she has been working on and off for Disney. She died of a cerebral Hemorrage in July 26, 1978.

Family and early life

During her earlier years born as Mary Browne Robinson. Her family moved to San Jose in 1920. Her family was a very poverty stricken family because of the great depression, however she was always one to strive and become a successful artist. She received a scholarship at Chouinard school of Art and met Lee Everett Blair. The two married March 3, 1934 after they both graduated in 1933. She eventually went back to stay with her parents because of the bleak market industry. She worked as a barmaid until she soon became a cell painter for Ub Iwerks studio.

Career outline

Joined the Ub Iwerks studio, went to the Walt Disney Studios in 1940, worked on concept art for the animated feature films, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. She worked heavily from 1950 to 1953 on color styling for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Resigned from Disney after Peter Pan to do graphic designes and illustrations for Nabidsco, Pepsodent, Maxwell House, and Beatrice Foods.She also illustrated several Golden Books for publisher Simon and Schuster and she designed Christmas and Easter sets for Radio City Music Hall. Mary soon began working on Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World attraction. 1967 she created mural art for Tomorrow Land’s Adventure Thru Inner Space. In the same year she had also been given credit to the film version of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”.

Personal style

She liked to use flat graphic color to describe her images, using complementary colors and different shades to bring her art work to life.Animator Mark Davis says that Mary’s work is “on par with Matisse”. Frank Thomas notes that “she was the first artist I knew to have different shades of red next to each other”.


Some of Blair’s instructors during her college years such as illustrator Pruett Carter, and Chouinard’s master composition teacher Lawrence Murphy.

Honors and awards

Honored as a Disney Legend in 1991 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood in 1996




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