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Eyvind Earle

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Eyvind Earle
Eyvind Earle

Eyvind Earle (April 26, 1916 – July 20, 2000) was an American artist, noted for his contribution to the background illustration and styling of Disney animated films in the 1950s. He was a background artist for Disney's animated Peter Pan and he painted the illustrations for Walt Disney's Peter Pan and Wendy, the Little Golden Book adapting the film. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rahr West Art Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, and Arizona State University Art Museum have purchased Earle's works for their permanent collections. His works have also been shown in many one-man exhibitions throughout the world.

Earle was born in New York in 1916, but his family moved to Hollywood in 1918. He began painting when he was 10 years old, when his father challenged him to either read 50 pages of a book or paint a picture every day; he did both. He had his first solo show in France when he was 14 years old.

His first New York exhibition was at the Charles Morgan Galleries in 1937. At a sell-out exhibition in 1939 the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his works for its permanent collection. His work at this time was realistic painting. In the 1940s he painted more than 800 Christmas card designs for the American Artist Group.

In 1951 he joined Disney as an assistant background painter and received credit for the experimental background painting in the Goofy short, For Whom the Bulls Toll. In 1953 he created the look of Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, a short animated film which won an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. He worked on Peter Pan, Working for Peanuts, Pigs is Pigs, Paul Bunyan, and Lady and the Tramp. The pinnacle of his work for Disney was the landmark 1959 feature film Sleeping Beauty, for which he was responsible for the styling, background, and colors. His artwork was the inspiration for the graphic style of Sony's first computer animated film, 2006's Open Season.

He returned to full-time painting in 1966, producing watercolors, oils, sculptures, drawings, and scratchboards. He began making limited-edition serigraphs in 1974. Much of this work was not exhibited in his lifetime.

In 1998, Earle was honored at the 26th Annie Awards with the Winsor McCay Award for a lifetime achievement in the art of animation. He was critically acclaimed by such publications as Time, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New York World-Telegram, The Art News and The New York Sun.

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