A visit to
@ The Carlyle Hotel, NYC
The walls are decorated with whimsical murals painted by illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans the creator of the the classic children's book "Madeline" in 1939
ABOUT THE BAR MURAL / 1947
The BAR that is covered in art lives the last public place Ludwig Bemelmans’ whimsy plays a big part.The story of the feisty literary heroine Madeline begins in Paris but the girl with the red hair and big yellow hat travels all around the world in the books written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. Much like his most famous character Bemelmans’ life began in Europe in the Austrian Tirol but he emigrated to the United States when he was nearly 20 years old. After working in the hotel industry and serving in the army he began writing and illustrating books for children. He found huge success with his Madeline series the first book of which came out in 1939. He went on to write five books about the spunky seven-year-old and her adventures and also produced popular artwork for publications like The New Yorker and Vogue. In the 1940s Bemelmans took on a commission that combined two of his passions: hotels and painting. He was contracted to decorate the new bar that was built in The Carlyle a luxury hotel in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. For this he was paid not in cash but received free board for himself and his family for a year and a half the duration it took for the wall murals to be completed.
The dull yellow of the walls is enlivened by elephants rabbits and other animals frolicking around Central Park all painted in Bemelmans’ trademark style. Madeline and her friends can also be spotted alongside other typical park scenes like dogs sprinting with their owners and nurses taking babies for a stroll. The simplicity of the wall art is contrasted by the more luxurious Art Deco interiors of the bar. The ceilings are coated in gold leaf and leather banquettes line the walls placed near glass-top tables. The whimsical artwork adds to the New York City piano bar’s quiet appeal and it is the only remaining place where Bemelmans’ work that is open to the public. It’s all there is and there isn’t anymore.
ABOUT THE ARTIST/
Ludwig Bemelmans was a painter illustrator and writer for both children and adults. A world traveler he spent most of his time in New York City or Paris. The original inspiration for Madeline was the result of his bicycle accident on an island of France. Hospitalized after being hit by the only car on the island Mr. Bemelmans recalled “The sisters in that small hospital wore large starched white hats that looked like the wings of a giant butterfly. In the room next to mine was a little girl who had had her appendix out. In the ceiling over my bed was a crack ‘that had the habit of sometimes looking like a rabbit.’” A year later back in New York City he penned the first draft of Madeline on the backs of menus in Pete’s Tavern. The Madeline books rank among the most-honored children’s books series. Madeline was named a Caldecott Honor Book and the first of its five sequels Madeline’s Rescue won the Caldecott Medal and was a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year. Mr. Bemelmans died in 1962 after completing his last book, Madeline’s Christmas.
The Carlyle is an integral part of New York history. As the city’s premier luxury residential hotel it is a famous gathering place for swanky socialites world leaders and celebrities.
- CHEERS! You just saw the amazing Works Of LUDWIG BEMELMANNS. Now, let's all meet up with Bill & Paul for a drink. (When COVID is over ) ;)