Friday 28 August 2015

Kay Nielsen – part 6

Kay Rasmus Nielsen (1886 – 1957) was a Danish illustrator who was popular in the early 20th century, during the “golden age of illustration.” He joined the ranks of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac in enjoying the success of the Gift Books of the early 20th century. Nielsen is also known for his collaborations with Disney for whom he contributed many sketches and illustrations.

See part 1 - Introduction for full biographical notes on Kay Nielsen. See parts 2 - 5 also for earlier works.

This is part 6 of a 6–part post on the works of Kay Nielsen:

1930 Red Magic:

“Red Magic” was the final title to be illustrated comprehensively by Nielsen. The 1930 version of “Red Magic” included 8 colour illustrations and more than 50 monotone ones. 
(I do not have copies of all the illustrations).

And the Demons Disappeared 

Beautiful Hind, Be Not Afraid

Dear Mr. Bruin! Tired and Wet, a Perfect Ruin!

Give Me My Barleybread in Peace and Security

He Brandished his Sword Three Times

Her Charm and Beauty had Penetrated his Heart 

I See the Star

If a Man, who must not, Kills a She-Bear, He will Die

Kits Ahoy! I'm a Sailor Cat Today! 

Crystal Ball

Saint George and the Dragon

She was Forced to Produce the Key

The Heavens Seemed to be on Fire

The Six Swans

The Stargazer Looked and Looked 

The Three Bears

1940 Fantasia:

In 1939 Nielsen left for California and worked for Hollywood companies. A personal recommendation from Joe Grant to Walt Disney secured Nielsen a job with The Walt Disney Company, where his work was used on “Fantasia” in the “Ave Maria” and “Night on the Bald Mountain” sequences.

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Night on the Bald Mountain

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

1939-40s The Little Mermaid:

Nielsen was renowned at the Disney studio for his concept art and he contributed artwork for many Disney films, including concept paintings for a proposed adaptation of fellow Dane, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” The film however was not made within Nielsen’s lifetime and his work went unused. The film finally went into production in 1989.

Nielsen briefly returned to Denmark in desperation. However, he found his works no longer in demand there either. His final years were spent in poverty. His last works fro schools and churches, including “The First Spring” mural installed at Central Junior High School, Los Angeles, and a painting illustrating the 23rd Psalm at the Wong Chapel, First Congregational Church, Los Angeles.
He died in 1957 aged 71 and his funeral service was held at the Wong Chapel. His wife Ulla died the following year.