| Disney museum debuts Kley's art |
San Francisco Chronicle
Walt Disney was mad for the horned demons, dancing elephants and weird hybrid creatures of Heinrich Kley, the early 20th century German artist and illustrator whose exquisitely drawn, fantastical images fueled Disney's imagination and inspired some of the animated characters and scenes in "Fantasia" and other classic Disney films.
Uncle Walt was probably turned on to Kley by Albert Hunter and other European artists who worked for him. But he really got into the German's macabre and satirical work while traveling through Europe in 1935, two years before American audiences saw Kley's tutu-wearing elephants and other anthropomorphized animals in Coronet magazine. Among other source material he'd bought in Europe, Disney came home with a stash of Kley drawings and sketchbooks that remained in his private collection.
They're being shown publicly for the first time in "Heinrich Kley: From Fantasy to Fantasia," an engaging little show at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio. It brings together two Kley drawings and several sketchbooks - filled with fish-headed men and goat-clutching ogres, steam engines with human faces, a mermaid wrestling a shark, a factory-crushing giant, a fiddling mouse serenading two huge snails - alongside sketches, concept art and maquettes from "Fantasia," the 1940 Disney masterpiece that's rich in Kley-like imagery. photos
by Jesse Hamlin