Ludwig Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans


Nationality: American

Beloved by three generations of young readers, Ludwig Bemelmans is best known for his Madeline books. What many may not know is that Bemelmans, born in the Austrian Tyrol, considered himself more an artist than an author. Bemelmans' family relocated several times during his childhood, resulting in his fluency in three languages (French, German, and English) by the age of 18. Arriving in New York in 1914, he worked his way up through the hotel industry. When war broke out, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1917, becoming a naturalized United States citizen in 1918. He returned to the hotel industry after the war, opening his own restaurant.

Bemelmans began writing in 1934 with the introduction of Hansi, his first of 15 children's books. His diverse language base gave him a unique and quirky style of writing that children adored. His watercolor illustrations belied a simplistic style that partnered well with his sophisticated verse. Until his death in 1962, he wrote an average of one to two books per year. In addition to his juvenile fiction, his literary works included screenplays, adult novels, and stories. Bemelmans was a contributor to Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and the New Yorker, among others. His book Madeline's Rescue was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1953.

As an artist, Ludwig Bemelmans designed a Broadway set, completed several Hollywood projects, illustrated for the cover of the New Yorker, and painted several murals. His art can be found at New York's Carlyle Hotel, the MuseƩ National d'Art in Paris, France, and in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. His character Madeline, the spunky heroine of Bemelmans' classic five book series, celebrates her 75th anniversary this year.


Ludwig Bemelmans Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
LUDWIG BEMELMANS (American, 1898-1962) Madeline and Horse at Dinner Table Gouache on illustration board 39.75 x 26.25
LUDWIG BEMELMANS (American, 1898-1962)Madeline and Horse at Dinner TableGouache on illustration board39.75 x 26.25...
Lot 78010
Auction 5038
Saturday, October 16, 2010
LUDWIG BEMELMANS (American, 1898-1962) Madeline's Rescue, The Seine, Pont Pont Neuf, Statue of the Vert Galant, original...
LUDWIG BEMELMANS (American, 1898-1962)Madeline's Rescue, The Seine, Pont Pont Neuf, Statue of the Vert Galant, original ...
Lot 70280
Auction 5174
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962) Children at the Zoo Gouache, watercolor, and ink on board 21.75 x 30 in. (shee
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962)Children at the ZooGouache, watercolor, and ink on board21.75 x 30 in. (shee...
Lot 71097
Auction 5221
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962) To the One I Love Best, book cover, 1955 Watercolor and gouache, with pen and i...
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962)To the One I Love Best, book cover, 1955Watercolor and gouache, with pen and i...
Lot 71099
Auction 5221
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962) Rue de la Sardine, The Best of Times story illustration, December 1955 Oil, tem...
Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962)Rue de la Sardine, The Best of Times story illustration, December 1955Oil, tem...
Lot 71100
Auction 5221
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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