Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More animation: Joie de Vivre (1934)

Joie de Vivre (1934) by Anthony Gross and Hector Hoppin

The popularity of Walt Disney's cartoons in the 1930s encouraged many artists in Europe to produce figurative animation for adult audiences. These films helped establish the art form, although none of the artists involved were able to match Disney's wide distribution and economic success.

Anthony Gross is best known as a print-maker and painter. The animated films he made with Hector Hoppin reflect his distinctive graphic style, but add a sophisticated choreography of the movement of lines in space. The escapist theme of Joie de Vivre developed from an earlier suite of etchings called Sortie d'Usine (Coming Out of the Factory) 1931.

Anthony Gross was born in 1905. He studied at the Slade School of Art and Central School of Art, London, and the Academie Julian, Paris. He settled in Paris in 1926, exhibiting prints and illustrating books then, inspired by Disney cartoons, began making animated films in the 1930s with Hector Hoppin. His filmmaking was supported by Alexander Korda until the Second World War intervened. A distinguished war artist, he afterwards returned to painting and printmaking, teaching the latter at the Slade till 1971. He died at Le Boulve, France in 1984.

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