The great success of Disney's animated classics has always been credited to Walt Disney and his team of animators who brought life to the characters we have all come to cherish. But rarely does enough credit go to the background artists and color stylists who created the elegance and beauty of Disney's wonderful fantasy worlds.
The color stylist for Sleeping Beauty was Eyvind Earle, a remarkable artist whose unique fine art paintings are still much sought after today. Best known for his serigraphs of California landscapes with long late day shadows; his style is a combination of geometric shapes that gives his art a special form that is both angular and round. In 1951 Earle went to work at Disney Studios as a background painter. But his crowning achievement was his work on Sleeping Beauty.
Released in 1959, the film was not immediately embraced by the critics. As he often did, Walt Disney had taken another gamble. The late fifties was a golden age of American industrial design; automobiles had swooping fins and chrome, architecture featured sweeping shapes and expanses and even the design of home appliances was as much form as it was function. For Sleeping Beauty Disney tapped Evyind Earle to create a European kingdom with a decidedly American look. Eventually Walt’s gamble paid off, the film is now considered a visual masterpiece as well as an animated classic.