COURVOISIER GALLERY CELS:
It was after the release of Snow White in 1938 that the Walt Disney Studios tried to market their animation art. So much time and money was spent in the creation of animation cels, storyboards, layouts, drawings and backgrounds, that the Studio wanted these elements sold as ART, not as curios or just given away as movie memorabilia.
Disneys marketing department made arrangements to sell its art through the Courvoisier Gallery(®, which was then located in San Francisco. You can almost always identify a Courvoisier piece by its whitish/beige matte and the white sticker on the back of the set-up identifying the name of the character, the short or feature it is from and the year of its release.
Originally, these pieces sold for $5.00 to $50.00. For $5.00 a person could buy a single cel set-up over a simple airbrush background. For $50.00 one purchased a more elaborate, panorama or multi-character piece over an original background from SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS or another film. At first, the Disney Studio itself made up and packaged the cel set-ups, but, later in the 1940s, Courvoisier took over this task itself.
At first, Courvoisier's sales were very strong, in fact, they sold in excess of several thousand pieces. It seemed that a number of large museums actually bought up most of the pieces. But, it was not long before the public became enchanted by the magic of cels. To fully appreciate the popularity of cels at these prices, we have to momentarily step back in time to 1938. The depression was still adversely affecting people, and the dollar index at that time was far less than it is today. This means that a $5.00 cel could cost $500.00 today, and a $50.00 cel would cost $5,000.00 or more. The pieces were most times sold matted, but not always framed. Practically all of the Courvoisier pieces that surface in todays market are found in frames.
The Courvoisier Gallery sold these lovely matted Disney cels for roughly ten years at what were considered very high prices for the day. In 1948, the Courvoisier Gallery(® went out of business. S/R Laboratories Animation Art Conservation Center is the legal copyright holder of Courvoisier Galleries(®) of San Francisco.
WALT DISNEY COURVOSIER CELS
#DC5 - 'Wynken, Blynken And Nod', (1938).(Original Frame)Price: $2150
#DC5 - Walt Disney 'Wynken, Blynken & Nod', 1938. The Courvoisier cel measures 9.5' X 11.5, bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. An elaborate dream fantasy based on the popular children's poem of three children playing and floating among the stars. The lullaby babies who sail the stars in their wooden shoe are as soft and dreamy as a nursery. Wynken, Blynken and Nod, a high spot in the decade-long series of Silly Symphonies, was one of the first films to use the new multiplane camera. (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
#DC2 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 'Doe and Fawn', (1937). (Original Frame)Price: $2100
#DC2 - Walt Disney's 'Doe and Fawn', 1937. This is a 3-D 'Courvoisier' cel measuring 6.50' X 7.00' from 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. This came from the Milford Heininger estate here in Toledo, Ohio. He had told me that he picked this up from an estate sale in the late 1950's. In her effort to be 'fairest in the land,' a jealous and evil queen attempts to be rid of her beautiful stepdaughter, Snow White, who takes refuge in the forest cottage of the seven dwarfs. The queen, disguised by magic as an old peddler woman, tempts Snow White with a poisoned apple, which puts her into an enchanted sleep until the spell can be broken by love's first kiss. (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
#DC3 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 'Two Raccoons', (1937). (Original Frame)Price: $1700
#DC3 - Walt Disney 'Two Raccoons', 1937. The courvoisier cel from 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' measures 5.50' X 5.50'. Purchased originally from Butterfield and Butterfield March of 1993, bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. The visual style of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a departure from the short cartoons produced by Disney to that time. Instead of bright, primary colors, Snow White had a sophisticated color palette; the backgrounds were painted in grayed-down transparent watercolors. The overall styling was evocative of the storybook illustrations of N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham. Respected illustrator Gustav Tenggren contributed enormously to the overall 'look' of Snow White. (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
#DC7 - Pinocchio, 'Figaro', (1940). (Original Frame)Price: $2350
#DC7 - Walt Disney 'Figaro', 1940. The Courvoisier cel set-up from 'Pinocchio' bears the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. The cel image area measures 3.50' X 5.50' rendered on an original background. When 'Pinocchio' was released in 1940, it represented the highest achievement ever in the animated arts. In addition to technical and creative improvements over 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,' 'Pinocchio' revolutionized special animated effects, opening the way for 'Fantasia.' (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
#DC6 - Donald Duck, 'Donald Gets Drafted', (1942). (Courvoisier Matted)Price: $1400
#DC6 - Walt Disney 'Donald Gets Drafted', 1942. The Courvoisier cel set-up features 'Donald', bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. This cel needs restoration. The first war-themed cartoon released during World War II. Donald does his patriotic duty when he receives his draft notice and enlists in the army. The first of Donald's 'Army' pictures follows him though his induction medical exam and boot camp where Donald learns to rue his army induction order when his sadistic sergent, Pete, drills him and teaches him discipline. (COURVOISIER MAT)
#DC1 - Ferdinand The Bull, 'Matador' (1938). (Original Frame)Price: $2100
#DC1 - Walt Disney 'Ferdinand The Bull', 1938. The Courvoisier cel set-up features the 'Matador', modeled after Walt Disney. The image area measures 4.50' X 5.25', bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. Ferdinand is a quiet, peaceful young bull who only wants to stop and smell the flowers. But, when he is stung by a bee, the townspeople believe he is ferocious and take him to the bullfight ring. Ward Kimball drew the line of matadors that enter the bull ring as caricatures of Disney artists. They are, in order, Bill Tytla, Fred Moore, Art Babbitt, Ham Luske, and Jack Campbell. The head matador was Walt Disney, with Kimball himself following after as his sword carrier. (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
#DC4 - Fantasia, 'Pegasus', (1940).(Original Frame)Price: $1750
#DC4 - Walt Disney 'Pegasus', 1940. Fantasia - Symphony 6 (Pastoral). The image is from the 'Pastoral Symphony' section of 'Fantasia', hand inked and laminated against a Courvoisier watercolor background. The set-up measures 2.25' X 2.50', bearing the WDP stamp with hand-lettered Courvoisier mat and Courvoisier label. Fantasia is nothing less than a symphony concert, illustrated by Disney animation, with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. The eight sequences are: 'Tocata and Fugue in D Minor' (J. S. Bach), 'The Nutcracker Suite' (Tchaikovsky), 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' (Dukas), 'The Rite of Spring' (Stravinsky), 'The Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral)' (Beethoven), 'Dance of the Hours' (Ponchielli) and 'Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria' (Moussorgsky/Schubert). (IN ORIGINAL FRAME)
All artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity