Pinocchio background concept art valued at $40,000

An oversized background concept painting from Disney's Pinocchio (1940) will carry an estimate of $30,000-40,000 to Profiles in History's December 20 auction of animation.

The sale will take place in Calabasas Hills, near Los Angeles.

Tengrenn Pinocchio Disney
Tengrenn designed the background art for Pinocchio

The painting was executed by Swedish-American artist Gustaf Tengrenn (1896-1970) and shows the concept for Gepetto's workshop.

Tengrenn was an established illustrator of children's stories and had previously worked for the Milton Bradley board game company.

In 1936 he was hired by Disney to work as chief illustrator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, giving the artwork a Scandinavian twist and creating the rich "old world" atmosphere that Walt Disney wanted.

He worked on the background illustrations as well as leading the animation team, which comprised almost 700 employees working by hand.   

He worked on a number of the studio's most iconic early productions, including Bambi and Pinocchio, but left the company in 1940 - returning to illustrating children's books.

The piece is painted in watercolour and tempera on a large illustration board almost 30 inches across.

An original production cel of the wicked queen holding the heartbox from Snow White is valued at $15,000-20,000.

Snow White production cel
The cel is presented with a signature from Walt Disney

The cel, described as being in fine condition, has been trimmed and presented in a presentation box along with a signature from Walt Disney on a matte board.

Recently, another production cel from Snow White achieved $26,290 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

We have this first edition copy of Walt Disney's America signed by 12 Disney animators and voice actors for sale.

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