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The Disney attraction It's a Small World, was first designed and built for the Pepsi-Cola pavilion at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. It presents animated figures frolicking in miniature settings of many lands, unifying a theme of global peace. Today, there is a Small World attraction at Disneyland (in California), Disneyworld (in Florida), Tokyo Disneyworld, Disneyworld Paris, and one will open in 2008 at Hong Kong Disneyworld.
Pepsi-Cola, in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund, presented the attraction as a salute to children around the world. The original full name was It's a Small World - A Salute to UNICEF. A special adjoining exhibit extolled the theme that every child in the world has the right to security, good health, and education.
When it came to designing this international, child themed attraction, Walt Disney immediately thought of the perfect person to do it, Disney artist Mary Blair. Walt not only loved her sense of color styling, but he really felt close to her unusual childlike style. Animation historian John Canemaker quotes Disney artist Roland Crump, "The way she (Mary) painted - in a lot of ways she was still a little girl. Walt was like that... You could see he could relate to children - she was the same way." Animator Marc Davis, who put Mary's exciting use of color on a par with Matisse, recalled, "She brought modern art to Walt in a way that no one else did. He was so excited about her work." Also, in 1941, Mary Blair was part of a Disney expedition that toured South America for three months. She painted watercolor concepts that so perfectly illustrated the flavor of the Latin American countries, that Disney named her art supervisor on The Three Caballeros, and Saludos Amigos. This experience and her style made Mary Blair uniquely qualified to be the designer of It's a Small World.
The It's a Small World attraction is considered to be quintessential Mary Blair in style and concept, and this 20 inch long panoramic painting is the quintessential piece of Mary Blair Small World concept art. Every element of her art style and coloring, along with every element represented in the attraction is included in this piece of art. Happy children in four different countries are pictured along with the river running through it and connecting it all. Children, international good will, peace, and happiness; not a bad combination for a work of art, a beloved theme park attraction, and hopefully for the future of our world.
please note: artwork without prices are at or above $10,000, prices given upon request
Feel free to e-mail me ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (954-384-0888) for further information about specific pieces for sale or just general information about the hobby.
Robert Jaiven - art consultant
(and head cuckoo)
1252 Bayview Circle
Weston, Fl. 33326
all images © their respective studios