Hurter, Albert

Swiss/United States, (1883-1942)

  • Albert Hurter - Victims of Circe
  • Victims of Circe

  • (1948), halftone print
  • illustration from:
    Albert Hurter. He Drew As He Pleased. New York: Simon and Schuster (1948)

About the Artist

Albert Hurter (1883-1942) was a Swiss born US emigrant illustrator. Hurter studied architecture and art for seven years in Europe. He came to the US about 1914 and worked in the early animation industry for Barre-Bowers in New York doing Mutt & Jeff cartoons.

At age 48 he applied for an animation job at the Disney Studios, (Walt Disney was then 29). Walt Disney saw the potential in his talents. Hurter had a keen eye for movement and this with his extensive art training allowed him to easily and accurately replicate action based on an analysis of nature. He could imagine, with anthropomorphic tendencies, and draw quickly and had a playful, often surrealistic approach to cartooning.

Walt Disney employed Hurter as a concept artist, the first ever inspirational sketch artist to work at the Walt Disney Studio. His strength was the single drawing that suggested character and business possibilities. His job was to draw and sketch, to play with images and ideas. They’d say to him, “The Three Little Pigs” and he’d be off for days doodling and drawing and designing and the results were quickly passed to the other departments to be mined for ideas.

Hurter’s sketches were the foundations for most of the Disney films of the Thirties. He designed characters and settings for Silly Symphonies, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Reluctant Dragon, and even shorts and films that were to be made long after his death. [DES-01/11]

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