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Disney Animation Art

The Walt Disney Company revolutionized the world of animation in the 20th century, not only producing cherished animated films but also pioneering the preservation, archival, and reproduction of its company’s works.

In 1923, animator Walt Disney and his businessman brother Roy Disney founded the Walt Disney Company, originally called the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. After creating a number of successful Mickey Mouse short films, the company produced the world’s first fully animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” followed by nearly 30 more using traditional animation techniques. After 1989, studio crews adopted computer animation almost exclusively, and the last film Disney produced using hand-inked and hand-painted production celluloid (cels) was “The Little Mermaid.”

For vintage Disney art collectors, original production cels are becoming rare and highly collectible, particularly anything produced from the 1920s through the 1950s. Also revered are original backgrounds, drawings, concept sketches, and storyboards. Any pieces signed by a Disney artist or Walt Disney himself will hold high values.

Aside from original production art, Disney has produced and marketed a variety of limited-edition prints, including hand-painted cels, lithographs, and sericels. Although these pieces are not considered vintage, some have recorded high earnings in the art marketplace.


Quick Facts

  • Disney’s Animation Research Library (ARL) holds 65 million pieces of animation artwork; over 200,000 of these are original production cels. The library is open to employees and designated members of the press, and its exact location is not publicly disclosed
  • Walt Disney jokingly called his group of supervisory animators the “Nine Old Men.” These individuals assisted Disney in creating and producing films from the 1960s through the 1970s
  • Heritage Auctions held a record-breaking animation art auction in April 2015. Several top-sellers included production cels from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” ($47,800), “Pinocchio” ($23,900) and “The Little Mermaid” ($15,535)

Recommended Items at Auction

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Limited Edition Walt Disney 100th Anniversary Edition Art by THOMAS KINKADE Studios
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Limited Edition Walt Disney 100th Anniversary Edition Art by THOMAS KINKADE Studios
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$336 Bids
Original Disney Animation Drawing Pete in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) Production Art
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing Pete in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) Production Art
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$505 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 229
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 229
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$404 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 127
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 127
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 143
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 143
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 138
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 138
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 139
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 139
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 128
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 128
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 129
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 129
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 220
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 220
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 141
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 141
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$403 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 130
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 130
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 140
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Donald Duck Painted Production Art D 140
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$303 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 219
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 219
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 236
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 236
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 239
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Cel Goofy Painted Production Art G 239
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Walt Disney Drawing- hand signed, Dimensions: 31 x 23 cm
Apr 21, 10:15 PM CEST
Walt Disney Drawing- hand signed, Dimensions: 31 x 23 cm
by Novartia
Est: €1,800- €2,000
€3002 Bids
Original Disney Animation Drawing Merlin in The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing Merlin in The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Original Disney Animation Drawing The Pike in The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing The Pike in The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Original Disney Animation Drawing Pearly Band from Mary Poppins (1964) Production Art
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing Pearly Band from Mary Poppins (1964) Production Art
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$202 Bids
Original Disney Animation Drawing Donald Duck Production Art D 196
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing Donald Duck Production Art D 196
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$101 Bid
Original Disney Animation Drawing Merlin from The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
Apr 21, 10:00 AM PDT
Original Disney Animation Drawing Merlin from The Sword in the Stone (1963) Production Art
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $100- $1,000
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Disney Animation Art


Hughes Auctions

Hughes Auctions

Finarte

Finarte

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Novartia

Novartia