March 10, 2012

The Art of Heinrich Kley

Heinrich Kley (1863 – 1945) was a German caricaturist, editorial cartoonist and painter. His drawings comprised quick, loose, pen-and-ink sketches that captured an amazingly realistic and robust form. He was an inspiration for a number of early Disney productions, notably Fantasia, as Walt Disney himself was quite a collector of his work.

He started out as an illustrator and a painter of murals, focusing on portraits, still lifes, animals, and landscapes. By the turn of the century Kley’s interest changed to modern industrial life, including factories, blast furnaces, ship docks, industrial buildings, machinery, and architectural paintings.

With his move to Munich he mostly gave up painting to concentrate on drawing with pen and ink. His work was imbued with his sarcastic wit, and he quickly became famous for his darkly humorous and jittery pen drawing work that appeared in the magazines Jugend and Simplizissimus.

In 1937 the new Coronet Magazine in the United States published Kley's drawings in three consecutive issues, and he became wildly famous with American audiences. Three years later his work inspired the Disney artists who created the film Fantasia. According to Disney animator Joe Grant, both Kley and T.S. Sullivant were enormous influences on the look of the film.


Angela Entzminger said...

These are fascinating. Also - found your blog through the 11 second club tutorial link. Thanks for posting the Robin Hood walk cycles - they're a great reference.

Joe Procopio said...

As a Heinrich Kley fan you might be interested to know that I've published two new books on his work with almost no overlap with previous collections and lots of color examples of Kley's work. You can get more information and watch a video trailer on the new books at the Lost Art Books site below:

Thanks for helping to keep Kley's legacy alive with your blog post!

--Joe Procopio