After college the two worked for rival animation studios. They didn’t meet until Martin Provensen was assigned to the Walter Lantz Studio in 1943 to work as a creator of training films for the American military, and there he finally met Alice.
The Provensens were married in 1944 and resettled in Washington, D.C., to work on war-related projects. When the war ended, the couple moved to New York City, where a friend assisted them in finding their first job, illustrating “The Fireside Book of Folk Songs.”
It was the beginning of a partnership that would last 43 years and produce more than 50 books.
During the production of “The Glorious Flight,” the pair worked together on most of the drawings and paintings. “Sometimes with one of us doing the background and the other doing the costumes and figures. We were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist,” Alice said.
Asked how they worked as a team, Martin said, “We divide ourselves into an art director and an assistant on each book. We don’t tell anyone which is which. On one book Alice takes the lead and on another book I do. We give it back and forth, and in that way it’s a joint thing.”
This fairy tale partnership was not without discord. But much like a scene from the movie “It Happened One Night,” the Provensens would put a sheet up between their workboards and say, “This side is closed until the problem is solved one way or another,’’’ Alice said.