Star Phoenix Art Gallery
Disney (1930's) - Miscellaneous Original Vintage Production Art

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Original 1930's Sam Armstrong Concept Painting The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Source: TV
Layers: 1
No sketches available
Standard size

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Added 8/13/2018
Updated 8/14/2018
This is such an amazing piece and I am absolutely thrilled to have found it. This is an original piece made by Sam Armstrong, who worked with Walt Disney during the 1930's and played a key role in his brilliant designs for the backgrounds for Snow White (1937) along with other great films of the time such as Dumbo, Fantasia, and Bambi.

Below is the information provided by S/R Laboratories regarding this piece and its rich history.

"Once upon a time there was a king who had twelve daughters, each more beautiful than the last. Every night they were safely locked in their room, yet in the morning their shoes had been worn through as though by dancing.

Sam Armstrong is known for his brilliant backgrounds for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that it is something of a shock to think of him in any other context. Yet during his relatively short tenure at the Disney Studio he also served as a storyman as well director for sequences in Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. His artistic background is impressive. Trained primarily at the Philadelphia College of Art in the early years of the last century, he had his own art school in Tacoma, Washington in 1923, served as art editor for the Tacoma News Tribune, and was recognized for his illustrations and covers for Sunset Magazine, known for the high quality of its art. He also illustrated two Cozy Corner books, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, for Disney. All of which is to say it should not be a surprise to see such a fine and traditionally conceived painting from his hand.

Since his earliest days Walt had been interested in fairy tales as a source of inspiration for his animated films. With the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Studio was seriously exploring the possibility of other traditional tales for films. “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” also from Grimm, was a sound choice. It is not difficult to imagine Sam presenting his composition to Walt for consideration.

The composition is classic, with each princess framed in an arch of the forest through which they come to the water’s edge where twelve princes to carry them to a castle where they will dance the night away. The forest itself, with its shimmering leaves of silver, gold, and diamonds, is beautifully and simply depicted. Rendered with dazzling precision in gray watercolor on black paper, the painting is 16-1/2 x 12-1/2”. Sam’s handwritten note on the reverse “Sketch by Samuel Armstrong” along with his Encino, California, address and phone number, appears to be a photocopy of the original wrapping paper, and the mat has two cutouts exposing Sam’s signature and the line from the story “An avenue of trees where the leaves were diamonds,” which can be seen on our WebCenter©, Disney, late 1930s."

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Curator: star-phoenix
Gallery Created: 4/15/2004
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