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Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
LUDWIG BEMELMANS. "Lapin-Agile." Fine art painting, circa 1955. Oil on canvas board. 229x309 mm; 9x12 inches. Signed "Bemelmans" in lower right image; titled "Lapin-Agile / Paris" in pen on verso.
This sweet little scene of the popular nightclub in Paris was among numerous landscapes and local scenes that Bemelmans painted in Europe in the 1950s. Already an accomplished and popular illustrator of the first Madeline book (1939) and a number of travel and humor books, Bemelmans went to Ville-d'Avray, France in 1954 to apply himself to fine art and try his hand at oil painting, a medium he had previously shied away from. He claimed that he "could not stand the smell or feel of oil and turpentine; also that I could not wait for oil to dry"--My Life in Art, page 61. It was through bartered lessons with a local painter, Marcel Salinas (whom he helped put on an exhibition in New York) in 1957, that he developed the courage to take oil to canvas.