Mary Blair

2019 The Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Blair

Mary Blair (1911–1978) was a trailblazing animator and designer for Disney and also worked as a graphic designer, set designer, muralist, and children’s books artist. Her modernist style, sharply defined figures, and passionate love of color are key elements in all of her work, and together they became a signature feature in the whimsical titles she illustrated for Little Golden Books. They include Baby’s House by Gelolo McHugh, The Up and Down Book, which she wrote as well as illustrated, The Golden Book of Little Verses by Miriam Clark Potter, The New Golden Song Book, compiled by Norman Lloyd, and I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss, still in print after sixty-eight years. Although the number of books she illustrated is small, critics agree that her influence on illustrators at work today is unmistakable. Her art was celebrated in exhibits at the Walt Disney Family Museum in 2014 and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 2016.