Ludwig Bemelmans grew up under the Austro-Hungarian empire and emigrated to the United States in his late teens, just escaping the outbreak of the First World War. His illustrations for the Madeline books offer a classic vision of Paris that has created a lasting impression on millions of readers. And every illustrator would love to know how he conveyed all the emotions of a spirited little girl drawn with just a few lines and dots; how did he achieve such clarity in simplicity?
Laurie Britton Newell’s illustrated essay gathers material from Bemelmans’ diverse oeuvre, from novels, autobiographical stories, humorous articles and comic strips to murals and menus for hotels and restaurants. The book makes accessible this mesmerizing material, which is otherwise lost to the public, and connects it to the artist’s intriguing life. An icon of a fascinating era, Bemelmans through his magical work gives us glimpses of a life that embodied both hard work and glamour, in Paris and New York.