Bonhams : BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,

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Lot 119W
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962.
Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,

US$ 40,000 - 60,000
£ 31,000 - 47,000
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962.
Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House, New York, 1934. Nine individual panels; sizes vary from 83 1/4 x 30 1/2 inches to 65 1/4 x 30 inches. Together with pieces of the painted paper that have fallen from the surface but have been saved separately.

In 1934, Austria-Hungary-born artist Ludwig Bemelmans, best remembered for the children's classic Madeline (1939), opened Hapsburg House at 313 East 55th Street, New York. He was apprenticed to an uncle who ran a hotel in Austria, but the young man was forced to emigrate to the United States when he shot a waiter. Here he worked in several hotels and restaurants while struggling as an artist. Two leading admen with Young & Rubicam, Frank Dougherty and Chet Laroche (actress Rosalind Russell's brother), teamed with the painter and Ted Patrick, founder of Holiday magazine, to establish Hapsburg House as a private lunch club for friends. (Walter P. Chrysler Jr. was also said to be an investor.) The restaurant became famous for its excellent Viennese cuisine, a fine wine cellar and zither music. "A little old New York house 'done over' in the manner of old Vienna as Schubert knew it," a 1934 restaurant guide described it. "At the door to greet you, a dear little old man the image of Emperor Franz Joseph. Austrian food." They found him by posting in a German New York newspaper a classified ad for "A noble-looking old gentleman, resembling Kaiser Franz Josef." Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Danny Kaye, Hedy Lamar, Rod Steiger, Joe Dimaggio, Alexander Woolcott and his friends, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, were among the popular joint's patrons. Dorothy Kilgallan often mentioned the Hapsburg in her nationally syndicated column. Bemelmans himself designed the menu covers and decorated the walls of the first and second floors with black-and-white murals of Old Vienna much in the same energetic manner as those he painted for Jascha Heifetz and later Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. The picture along the walls of the upstairs front room was a copy of Schubert's room complete with his piano. After renowned Swiss chef Alex Chiesi bought the place in 1950, he had the upstairs murals painted over much to Bemelmans' displeasure. The artist retaliated by exhibiting his work in competing restaurant Lüchow's. When Hapsburg House finally closed in the 1970s, the downstairs murals were saved. They are of far more importance than those in the Schubert room because this charming, loosely painted bird's eye view of a romantic pre-war Austria makes numerous references to the not yet written Madeline. Although he set his picture book in Paris, Bemelmans must have recalled these Viennese scenes of nuns and their students who look just like Miss Clavel and her twelve little girls in two straight lines. There is even an early version of Madeline in the zoo in which a roaring lion terrifies little schoolgirls who venture too near the cage.
Contacts
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
BEMELMANS, LUDWIG. 1898-1962. Black and white gouache on paper affixed to masonite, being murals for Hapsburg House,
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