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Auction: Fine Paintings & Sculpture
was auctioned on: 22 January 2021
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Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962) Miss Clavel with Twelve Girls

Estimate: US$15,000 - US$25,000
Price realised:  US$17,500
Lot number 127, Views: 9

Ludwig Bemelmans (American, 1898-1962) Miss Clavel with Twelve Girls Signed "Bemelmans" l.r., titled on a label from Hammer Galleries, New York, affixed to the reverse. Mixed media including oil and ink on Whatman drawing board, 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm), framed. Condition: Bowing to board, two small areas of pigment loss l.c., minor abrasions c.l., surface grime. N.B. "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…." Ludwig Bemelmans began each story of his iconic Madeline series with this memorable phrase. The simple rhyme has taken hold in the memories of countless children, who grew up to read the Madeline adventures to their own children, often recited by heart. Bemelmans cloaked fanciful story lines and an endearingly fearless main character in a basic sing-song writing style. This combination of the masterly and seemingly simplistic also characterizes his charming illustrations. He defined figures and objects with bold and dynamic black lines and added broad strokes of color that often extend outside of those black borders. In this autumnal scene, Miss Clavel and her twelve young charges walk beneath a canopy of yellow and orange leaves. The leaves, drawn haphazardly in the shape of an uppercase "A," provide a distinct and vibrant setting for the "twelve little girls in two straight lines"—a scene that repeats throughout the book series. Though not reproduced in color in any of Bemelmans's books, this image might relate to Madeline and the Bad Hat, which chronicles throughout the seasons the girls' friendship with their next door neighbor, Pepito, the son of the Spanish ambassador.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Skinner
Title: Fine Paintings & Sculpture
Date of the auction: 22 Jan 2021
Address: Skinner
Park Plaza 63
02116 Boston, MA
United States
+1 (0)617 3505400 · +1 (0)617 3505429