You Can Own One Of The Haunted Mansion's Stretching Portraits
The Haunted Mansion is a staple of the Disneyland experience. It's longevity is perhaps due to its macabre sensibilities; there truly is a perverse angle to the ride. That jilted bride with the beating heart? Scary stuff.
One of the best parts of the ride happens at the beginning, when you're herded into a darkened room with no windows. There are portraits on the walls; each depicting a very genteel-looking person. Then the floor starts to sink, however, and the portraits begin to stretch, revealing the horror that's been hidden from us fair guests. In one painting, a man is revealed to be sitting on the shoulders of another man, who's also sitting on top of another compatriot, and they're all sinking in quicksand. In another portrait, a woman is shown to be perched on the tombstone of her late husband, who's implied to have been axed (literally) by someone.
There's also a portrait of a man who, as we later discover, is standing on a barrel filled with dynamite. If you're into the whimsical (and grim) stylings of this painting, you're in luck, because it'll be auctioned off this Saturday at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks.
It's not just any Haunted Mansion portrait, however. As explained by the L.A. Times, these portraits were initially painted by hand. It was a big headache because, as maintenance crews did upkeep work, the paintings had to be furled and unfurled repeatedly. This meant that the paintings deteriorated over time, and artists had to paint an extra copy over and over again. In 1972, three years after the ride officially opened, Disney did away with the hand-painted portraits and switched to prints on canvas.
As such, the hand-painted versions of the portraits are exceedingly rare. Gallery co-founder Mike Van Eaton told the Times that, "If I had to guess, I'd say there are only 15 or 20, total, of the hand-painted ones out there."
It should also be noted that Marc Davis, among, the "nine old men" who helped create Snow White, had painted the original portraits for the Haunted Mansion. From there, other artists duplicated the portraits by hand. The portrait being auctioned is one of those duplicates, but that doesn't make it any less rare.
The painting is estimated to be worth $30,000 to $40,000, so no, you probably won't be able to afford it. But if you can, it'll be a great piece to add to your dining room.
You can see the painting in person at Van Eaton Galleries at 13613 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, (818) 788-2357. You can also bid on it online starting this Saturday at 10 a.m.