Monday, December 5, 2011

What Did Walt Sign?

Walt Disney was born on this date in Chicago in 1901.

On December 14, Bonhams is offering this vintage drawing of Minnie and Mickey Mouse signed Walt Disney. Disney's work signatures are difficult, because while many are authentic, many others were signed by secretaries and other studio employees. In addition, he put his signature to much uncredited artwork done by studio artists, which is what I assume happened here. In the convention of Bonhams listings, all Walt Disney Studios work is described as Walt Disney, with no distinction made between the man and the Studios. Unfortunately, the auction listing says very little about the signature nor does it reveal anything about the artwork, which is crude and amateurish.

Sale 19431 - Entertainment Memorabilia including Animation Art, 14 Dec 2011
California, Los Angeles

Lot No: 4378
A Walt Disney watercolor of Minnie and Mickey Mouse
1930s, watercolor on paper, signed lower right Walt Disney, matted and framed.
Provenance: Sotheby's June, 1990, lot 111
3 1/4 x 4 1/2in

Estimate: US$500 - 700

December 14, 2011:  Sold for US$2,375 inclusive of Buyer's Premium 

This artwork makes no sense as a piece of Walt Disney Studios artwork dating from the 1930's. It's very sloppy and not up to the Disney standard of the time. For comparison below is a newspaper comic strip collection dating from 1931 with cover artwork on the identical subject. It was published by David McKay Co. and is credited as the first American Disney comic book. By comparison, the signed piece above doesn't look professional at all. Could it be a fan's artwork? A studio apprentice's?

Note:  You can read my latest Disney post here.


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