Madeline in New York

Madeline in New York

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The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans
New York Historical Society
July 4 through October 19, 2014

In celebration of the 75 year anniversary of the publication the children's story, Madeline, the New York Historical Society has put together a charming exhibit of Ludwig Bemelmans' work. Although the settings of early Madeline works begin in Paris, the exhibit firmly plants Bemelmans in New York.  

The exhibit begins with his earliest drawings, including a pictorial of his expectations of New York City as he made his way here by ship.  Bemelmans' early animated cartoons are on display and examples of his commercial work.  

And then comes Madeline.  The story of how a German man with a background in hotel service channels a petit Parisian girl is told by illustration and word.  There are reproductions of the panels he created for Aristotle Onassis ship, the Christina. And notes from Jacqueline Kennedy that previews a collaboration on Madeline visiting the White House.  

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. They left the house at half past nine...the smallest one was Madeline.
— Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans


The exhibit wraps up with a set of cartoons Bemelmans created to celebrate the New York Ritz Hotel, which he drew before the hotel was torn down.  The exhibit has an audio companion that is recorded with children in mind. 

To continue your experience, the Society has a downloadable map, Bemelmans' New York that guides you to some of his favorite places.  There is also a Madeline story time and themed teas that will please old and young.  

Go now and then head to the Carlyle to the Bemelmans Bar to toast the man and the city.  

About Lori Theisen

Lori Theisen is a co-founder and managing editor of The Literary Cafe. A journalism major before she got swept up into the world of corporate marketing, she always wanted to indulge her passion of books, culture and food.