7.30.2014

madeline in new york: the art of ludwig bemelmans

The little gals and I made a special trip to the New York Historical Society last week to check out their new exhibit, Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans. We loved it! I've always felt that one of the more fun aspects of being a parent is getting to read aloud some of my favorite books from childhood... in a way, re-living my early years in the process. Madeline definitely tops the list of my favorite all-time characters. Such a spunky girl (who else could say "pooh, pooh" to a tiger?!)

The exhibit delves into Bemelmans' life as a young immigrant working in the hotel industry in NYC, the inspiration for Madeline, as well as his life as an author, artist, restaurateur, fabric designer and comic book illustrator.

A few fun facts for you: During Ludwig's time living at the famous Upper East Side Carlyle Hotel, he painted murals on the walls of their bar while he and his family lived rent-free (Bemelmans Bar was later named in his honor and the murals are still there for you to see). On view you'll find correspondence between he and Jacqueline Kennedy, whom he was collaborating with on Madeline at The White House until his death in 1962 (his grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, later finished the book). Also, I had no idea Bemelmans sketched out the outline of Madeline on a menu at Pete's Tavern in Gramercy Park (side note: I once went on a disastrous blind date there).

What a treat to learn so much about a truly fascinating man! I highly recommend visiting if you're a Madeline fan, children's book buff and absolutely if you're a lover of all things NYC.

While there, we also checked out the DiMenna Children's History Museum, which is located downstairs. Their children's story and craft time during the week is Madeline-themed while the exhibit is on view, and the gals had so much fun listening to a story and making charm bracelets! I must admit this was our first visit to DiMenna, and it's a bit of a hidden gem. We'll definitely be coming back.

Check their calendar for exact times and dates for story and craft time.




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