Search For Treasures

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heinrich Kley: Cartoon Master

Today I'm getting a little fancier and a bit more , dare I say, sophisticated. Today we're looking at the work of Heinrich Kley, German cartoonist extraordinaire.

Heinrich Kley was born in Karlsruhe, Germany on April 15, 1863. He studied in both Karlsruhe and Munich and by the 1880s was known for his paintings. In 1908, he settled in Munich, where he began submitting cartoons to Jugend and Simplicissimus. These two magazines were satirical publications, in the same vein as Britain's Punch.

Kley was one of the most popular contributors to these magazines. His work was very influential, particularly on the Disney studios surprisingly. His satirical renderings of animals such as elephants were very influential in the designs of the characters in The Dance of the Hours from FANTASIA, as well as the elephants of DUMBO. John Canemaker makes a point of this in his commentary on the DUMBO DVD.

He died in Munich on February 8, 1945.

I will be translating from the original German.

From God's Marionette Theater
"All right, you can pack away the king, too, for the time being. At the moment, he isn't bringing in any customers."

Tourist Season


Turn in Your Gold to the National Bank

Secondhand Shop

At the Border

The Dance Floor

I hope you enjoyed this. There will be more German cartoon treats.

Auf Wiedersehen!


Steven Hartley said...

Yes, I'm very familiar with Kley's artwork and he's a great draughtsman - the artists he inspired (I think) were Kay Nielsen, at Disney was Albert Hurter, Joe Grant and James Bodrero, I think.

Kirk said...

Beautiful stuff! A nice selection of images I havn't seen before. Check out Goya's Caprichos, a great forerunner to these, mayhaps. And I'm reminded of Winsor McKay's turn-of-the-century political cartoons, too.

I dig the Gaines sketches below, too! Bill visiting an Asian massage parlor!- he need go no further than 'Frisco for such treatments!

Joe said...

Great selection of images. I recognize a few of these from the great Jugend magazine.

If you like Kley, you'll be happy to know that I'm publishing a book on him in January 2011 that reprints over 200 of his book illustrations that have never appeared in an English-language edition. It's the fourth volume in my Lost Art Books series (from Picture This Press). Here's a link to the "Forthcoming" page with some more info on the Kley book. If you have a moment, poke around the site and check out our first three books on golden age illustrators and cartoonists.

Take care,


Brian Sibley said...

The influence at Disney was not just restricted to the animators, the boss himself was a passionate admirer of Kley and had a huge collection of original drawings which were, for many years, exhibited on the walls of Disneyland's private dining-room, Club 33. They are now housed in the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.