Rare preliminary watercolor from Pinocchio on the auction block

LOS ANGELES — Bonhams & Butterfields’ Entertainment Memorabilia auction on June 13, 2010 will include a wide range of collectible items related to our popular culture including a rare preliminary watercolor from the Oscar-winning® Walt Disney film “Pinocchio,” 1940, by famed children’s book and cartoon illustrator Gustaf Tenggren

The painting, seen below, depicts a scene from the animated classic where Pinocchio runs into Gideon and J. Worthington Foulfellow on a cobbled narrow Bavarian street. In this watercolor, the puppet’s two acquaintances are depicted as well as a quaint village with diminutive houses, which feature carved details. 

After joining Disney Studios in 1936, Tenggren worked on preliminary paintings for several classic films such as Snow White and Pinocchio. His style was very reminiscent of illustrators Gustave Dore and Arthur Rackham.  For Pinocchio, Tenggren painted street scenes of charming villages with narrow streets, petite houses, street lamps and townspeople going about their daily chores.  Many of these paintings were inspired by a small Bavarian medieval town by the name of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. 

Rare to auction, the watercolor is expected to bring $30,000 to $40,000.

The illustrated auction catalog is online now at www.bonhams.com/us

Preview: June 11-12, 2010, Los Angeles
Auction: June 13, 2010, 10 a.m.
Information: www.bonhams.com/us

A Gustaf Tenggren preliminary watercolor from “Pinocchio,” 1940, watercolor on paper. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.
Photo courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields; © Disney Enterprises, Inc. 1940


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Karen Knapstein

About Karen Knapstein

Karen Knapstein is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she has written dozens of articles on vintage collectibles and their historical context. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at karen.knapstein@fwmedia.com.