Christie’s is honored to announce The Ron and Diane Disney Miller Collection, a dynamic grouping of paintings, drawings, works on paper, and sculpture in the categories of Impressionist and Modern, Post-War and Contemporary, and American Art. Building on the philanthropic traditions begun by Diane Disney Miller’s father, Walt Disney, the sale of these works will benefit causes close to the family’s heart through the late couple’s eponymous charitable fund. Together, Ron and Diane Disney Miller built an impressive private collection of works by artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Milton Avery, and Wayne Thiebaud—figures whose works, like the animations of her father, are infused with bold experimentation in line, color, and movement. Of particular poignancy are works in the collection that reflect both the Millers’ connection to California, as well as the artists’ own association with The Walt Disney Company. 

Thiebaud, for one, apprenticed at Walt Disney Studios as an animator drawing characters such as Goofy, Pinocchio, and Jiminy Cricket—early influences for what would become his signature style of stylized realism in lively technicolour. During WW II, Diebenkorn was dispatched to Hawaii to work in cartography alongside Disney animators, where he learned to translate three-dimensional imagery onto a two-dimensional plane—a key element within his later of work. Whether in the couple’s exceptional grouping of American landscapes or Contemporary paintings and works on paper, Diane and Ron built a collection remarkable for its originality and diversity. The legacy of Diane Disney Miller rests not only in the remarkable continuation of Walt Disney’s artistic spirit but in her own unwavering belief in fostering a more inspired, creative world.

PHILANTHROPY

Proceeds from the sale of Wayne Thiebaud’s Mickey Mouse will fund programming initiatives at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, a 40,000-square-foot institution housing historic archival materials and artefacts of the 95-year-old company paired with the latest technology to fully illustrate Disney’s rich legacy. Sale of the remainder of the collection — including works by Henri Matisse, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Roy Lichtenstein, and others — will benefit additional causes important to the family including the Jane Goodall Institute, the HALO Trust, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The latter being especially significant to the Disney family, as in 1987, Lilian B. Disney (Diane Disney Miller’s mother) gave an initial donation of $50 million to build the Frank Gehry-designed California performance venue in memory of her pioneering husband. Barrett White, Head of Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art, Americas, remarks: Ron and Diane Disney Miller’s lifelong passion for the arts is exemplified by their extraordinary collection that extends across categories. Diane’s close relationship with her storied father, Walt Disney, is evident in her keen eye as a collector and her dedication to philanthropic causes. This sale carries on Disney Miller’s rich legacy with proceeds benefitting the couple’s namesake fund and the charitable organizations that were so near to their hearts.”POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALE | NOVEMBER 14Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #108 ($7 – 9 million) belongs to the series of Ocean Park paintings that the artist made in his studio in the Ocean Park neighbourhood of Santa Monica, which afforded abundant natural light and a narrow view of the Pacific Ocean. Ocean Park #108, painted in 1978, is suffused with the ineffable qualities that define the West Coast way of life, which Diebenkorn has distilled into a taut, geometric design. Diebenkorn devoted twenty years to the Ocean Park series, continuously refining and perfecting his craft from its beginnings in 1967. By the end of the 1970s, when Ocean Park #108 was created, the artist’s flair for color had been honed to a fine point. About a year after it was completed, this work and others in the series were selected for a solo exhibition at the artist’s gallery in New York with many from this show now located in major American museum collections including the Oakland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art.POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART MORNING SESSION | NOVEMBER 13Wayne Thiebaud’s depiction of the iconic cartoon character, Mickey Mouse, 1988 (estimate: $400,000 – 600,000), is a delight in both its composition and color palette. Reminiscent of Disney’s golden age, Mickey Mouse demonstrates Thiebaud’s modern treatment of color with his bold use of acrylic paint, bringing new life to Walt Disney’s globally beloved icon. Thiebaud’s ability to transform a universally recognizable character into a subject of drama and complexity is a testament to his power of observation as well as his extraordinary sense of color and form

AMERICAN ART | NOVEMBER 20

Andrew Wyeth’s
 Oliver’s Cap (estimate: $3,000,000 – 5,000,000) is an enigmatic painting, characteristic of his greatest works in its realization of a distinct, delicate balance, being at once both intensely complex and intimate. Painted in 1981, on the surface Oliver’s Cap may appear as a simple, traditional, American portrayal of a rural country scene. With Oliver’s Cap, Wyeth achieves a mysterious detachment from his subject while effectively communicating an intimate personal narrative, a quiet, pervasive tension, and sense of anticipation. Wyeth considered the present work intensely personal, stating in a letter, “I want you to know the egg tempera painting you have, titled ‘Oliver’s Cap’ I consider one of my very richest (sic) and most personal pictures.”Additionally, the collection includes a group of works on paper by Winslow Homer featuring his classic maritime themes as depicted in Boats Alongside a Schooner (estimate: $300,000-500,000), Thomas Hill’s Picnic by the Sea, a 7 ½-foot-wide 1873 painting of San Francisco Bay (estimate: $70,000-100,000), and William Keith’s The Headwaters of the Owens River (estimate: $100,000-150,000). RON AND DIANE DISNEY MILLER Born to one of the most influential figures in modern cultural history, Diane Disney Miller grew up surrounded by art and creativity. Indelibly shaped by the genius of her father, Walt Disney, and his eponymous animation studio, she built a life centered on art, music, and philanthropy, becoming a champion for not only the Disney family legacy but for her own tremendous generosity of spirit. As the animator’s eldest daughter, Diane Disney Miller inherited her father’s remarkable enthusiasm and energy, as well as his commitment to philanthropy and the arts, particularly classical music. Throughout her nearly 60-year marriage to Ron Miller, a professional football player who later became president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the couple carried on the Disney family’s devotion to philanthropy. As her husband built his career in entertainment, Diane devoted her time to raising their seven children while her interest in vineyards and winemaking grew, eventually acquiring land in Napa that became Silverado Vineyards. Together, the Millers undertook an impressive cultural contribution record across California, with Diane especially dedicated to classical music organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Napa’s acclaimed Music in the Vineyards.For most of her life, Diane Disney Miller eschewed the limelight, instead directing her efforts to ensuring the true legacy of her famous father.  The charitable fund, which the couple set up — and which will benefit from the proceeds of this sale —continues the Disney family’s legacy of supporting art, culture, and charity.

TOUR DATES & LOCATIONS Los Angeles | 15 – 17 October:
Christie’s
336 N Camden DrivePublic Viewing:
15 Oct, 10am-5pm
16 Oct, 10am -5pm
17 Oct, 10am-5pm


San Francisco | 22 – 25 October:
Minnesota Street Project, Gallery 200
1275 Minnesota StreetPublic Viewing:
22 Oct, 11am-5pm
23 Oct, 11am-5pm
24 Oct, 11am-5pm
25 Oct, 11am-12pm

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