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Carl Barks’ Disney Duck Family portrait tops Heritage animation sale

A Donald Duck ‘family portrait’ by the renowned Disney artist Carl Barks topped a recent sale of animation art at Heritage Auctions.
The painting, featuring Donald and his relatives, sold for $68,712 as the auction achieved a grand total of more than $1.5 million.

Carl Barks began his career as an animator at Disney Studios in 1935, but it was as a comic book artist that he eventually found success, as he created much-loved characters including Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Having retired in the 1960s, Barks began producing original oil paintings based on his characters, and they became a huge hit with Disney collectors.

Barks was known to his fans as "The Good Duck Artist", and today his paintings are amongst the most valuable and sought-after Disney artworks on the market, often selling for six-figure sums.

Mary Blair concept art for the It's A Small World Disneyland ride

Another legendary Disney figure featured in the sale was Mary Blair, whose concept artwork inspired films such as Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.

She was also responsible for designing the now-iconic ‘It’s A Small World’ ride at Disneyland, and it was one of her concept painting for the ride that attracted strong bids at Heritage, before realizing $27,485.

No animation sale would be complete without Mickey Mouse, and collectors had the chance to acquire the original advertising artwork for his 1935 short ‘The Band Concert’.

The cartoon marked Mickey’s first appearance in colour, and promote the event Walt Disney created a full-page advert for publication in Good Housekeeping magazine.

The original artwork for the page by Tom Wood also featured the likes of Donald Duck, Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar and Goofy, and sold for $20,315.

Tom Wood advertising artwork for The Band Concert

Further notable Walt Disney lots included production cels from Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, which each sold for $19,120; a Peter Pan production cel which sold for $15,535; and even an original 1930s-era animator’s desk used at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which sold for $13,145.

"The animation art department has enjoyed its best year yet, and this auction marked the perfect way to cap off the year," said Heritage Auctions Director of Animation Jim Lentz.

"We were able to offer an incredible array of lots that brought out the most serious collectors of Walt Disney art and animation art in general."

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