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This classic Disneyland episode is essentially Walt Disney's tribute to the brilliance of the artists in his employ. Inspired by The Art Spirit, a book by Robert Henri, four of Disney's artist created their own interpretations of the same tree, an old oak that once stood on Barham Boulevard in Burbank. Once the results have been shown and discussed, the episode segues into excerpts from Disney's animated features, each of which illustrates the power of imagination in bringing imagery to life. These cartoon sequence include the "Two Silhouettes" number from Make Mine Music (1946), sung by Dinah Shore with live appearances by dancers Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine of the Ballet Russe; the impressionistic "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" segment from Fantasia (1940), conducted by Leopold Stokowski; and, appropriately enough, "Trees", a visualization of Joyce Kilmer's famous poem, sung by the Fred Waring Glee Club, originally seen in Melody Time (1948). Minus the aforementioned feature-film excerpts, much of An Adventure in Art was later released as the educational short subject 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree.
Walt talks about how art has many different visions.
Walt Disney talks to art students about animation.
On this day in 1958, the Disneyland TV series paid tribute to artists, including some of Disney’s staff, in the episode “An Adventure in Art.” Referring to Robert Henri’s book, The Art of Spirit, Walt explains how people see art in different ways. Showcasing a segment from Fantasia, the show also displays how music can inspire visual artists. To conclude, the show branches out to debut 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree. Disney artists Marc Davis, Josh Meador, Eyvind Earle, and Walt Peregoy get to the root of art by showing that when four distinguished artists paint exactly the same tree, the results are drastically diverse because, as Walt reads from Henri’s book, “The great painter has something to say. He does not paint men, landscapes or furniture, but an idea.”