Dec 14, 2023 - Sale 2656

Sale 2656 - Lot 15

Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
Reflection in ice. Walt Disney Studios' storyboard sketch for an unknown animated film, c. 1940. Pastel on Disney 5 hole animation paper. 250x305 mm; 10x12 inches. Signed in lower left image. Age and light-related toning, but overall in very good condition.

This is an original Disney skating-themed animation storyboard / concept piece by Harry Reeves, likely for an unused gag in one of the studio's 1940s "package features." The humorous scene is skillfully drawn in pastel and charcoal on circa 1940s 5 hole punched Disney studios animation paper. The piece has the studio catalog number 11854 written in pencil at the bottom.

Possible candidates for the intended use of this drawing include the Once Upon a Wintertime sequence in Melody Time (1948), or Disney's abandoned Currier and Ives feature (also late 1940s), which would have been a hybrid of animation and live action, along the lines of Song of The South.

Elaborate color storyboards like this would have been shot as part of a Leica reel (known as an animatic or story reel today), a film (often combined with a soundtrack) which gave the crew a sense of the story before proceeding with the animation phase of production.

Harry Reeves began his animation career in 1929 at the Pat Sullivan Cartoon Studios in New York City (working with Otto Messmer, creator of Felix the cat), but soon moved on to to work at Disney in 1930. The bulk of Harry Reeves' work at Disney was in the story department, where he became was instrumental in the development of numerous classic shorts and features, including Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1945), Melody Time (1948), The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad (1949), and Cinderella (1950).

Much of the surviving art for Disney studios productions is without attribution, and it is very rare to find original art signed by Harry Reeves.