An original hand-painted image of Snow White’s Evil Queen topped a recent sale of animation art at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills.
The auction was the fifth consecutive animation sale at Heritage to exceed the $1 million mark, illustrating both the strength of the market and the passion of collectors.
“This only proves the animation market is increasingly being considered as fine art,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation at Heritage Auctions. “No other auction house has been able to deliver consignors anywhere near our $7 million in successful bids over the last two years.”
The Snow White cel and background setup captured the moment the Evil Queen gazes into her magic mirror and utters one of the most famous lines in film history: “Mirror, mirror on the wall… who is the fairest one of all?”
Regarded as one of the most important setups from the world’s first animated feature film, the image sold for $59,750.
Disney collectors also had the chance to snap up some rare original concept paintings by Mary Blair, one of the most influential artists in the company’s history.
These included a building design for the iconic Disneyland ride ‘It’s A Small World’, which sold for $31,070; and concept painting featuring mermaids, created for the 1953 film Peter Pan, which sold for $26,290.
Away from the world of Disney, the sale’s top price was matched by a cel and background setup from the 1965 holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Depicting the scene in which the hapless Charlie seeks help from Lucy at her ‘The Doctor is In’ Psychiatric Help booth, and described by Heritage experts as “one of the most amazing Key Master setups we have ever seen”, the cel also sold for $59,750.
Further highlights from the $1.38 million sale included a production cel from the Buggs Bunny/Elmer Fudd classic ‘What’s Opera, Doc?’, regarded as one of the finest short cartoons ever produced, which sold for $13,145; an original painting by Chuck Jones featuring characters including Buggs, Daffy Duck, Roadrunner and Marvin the Martian, which fetched $12,547; and an original concept drawing from Disney’s The Black Cauldron, created by a young Tim Burton, which sold for $11,950.