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Cinema & The Arts as Sermons: The Extraordinary Fantasy Illustrations of Heinrich Kley

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Video from Pete Beard

The Extraordinary Fantasy Illustrations of Heinrich Kley

"This is the first in what will be a new series of profiles about illustrators I particularly admire or think are significant. They will all be shorter than usual, either because there isn't enough information or visual material - or both - to justify a longer format without padding, which I try to avoid. And although he has already featured briefly in the unsung heroes strand I think the work of Heinrich Kley is well worth a more detailed look. I hope you'll agree." from video introduction.

Look Closer: Heinrich Kley

"Heinrich Kley’s influence on Walt Disney is undeniable. In 1935, Walt travelled extensively through Europe and returned with a handful of pieces by the German artist. Walt was drawn to the drama and emotion of Kley’s work, and wished to achieve a similar powerful visual narrative and sense of storytelling on screen.

A self-portrait of Heinrich Kley, by Kley, which is on exhibit now.Beyond Kley’s influence on Fantasia and Dumbo, which is most obvious in the dark demons of “Night on Bald Mountain” and dancing animals in “dance of the hours,” the mysteries of Kley’s personal life make the man as fascinating as his work.

Kley first studied the arts at Karlsruhe Akademie and then furthered his training under the tutelage of studio artist C Fritjog Smith. His early works depicted traditional subject matter, including landscapes, still-lifes, and historical paintings. He created a name for himself in his representation of industrial scenes, working for many large German industrial factories such as Rupp, MAN and Bilfinger. His detailed studies of machinery were described by a critic of the time as capturing “the poetry of the modern machine world.”.. from the article: Look Closer: Heinrich Kley

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