In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.
This is the opening line for all of the Madeleine books which made their author, Ludwig Bemelmans, famous. Born in 1898 in Meran (Austria-Hungary, now Merano, Italy), he lived in Germany before moving to the United States in the early 1910s. After struggling as an artist and dabbling in writing for years, it wasn’t until 1939 that the first Madeleine book was published.
In my last trip to New York, I went to Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel for drinks and phenomenal live jazz. Here I was able to admire Central Park, the mural Bemelmans painted on the walls of the Bar, his only artwork on display to the public.
It was a terrific evening, our waiter made it even more memorable:
And naturally, there had to be a wink to Madeleine:
Below is a watercolour finished by yours truly while on holiday this summer. I bought the first Madeleine book for one of my neices who is an avid reader. The book was a success as she loved me reading it to her, and I was also able to
rip off be inspired by one of its illustrations.
NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo