Here’s the intriguing HOLIDAY magazine that I mentioned in my last post. I rescued it from a cardboard box in an antique store last summer (for $3!!!). I was immediately attracted to the beautiful cover illustration, which was created by a rather famous writer and artist. I’ve cropped out the name, but can you guess who it is?
Here’s a hint: Do you recognize any of these characters?
That’s Miss Clavel from the Madeline books carrying the tray of drinks. And the little red-haired girl and black-haired boy playing hide-and-seek are Madeline and her friend Pepito.
And the illustrator?
It’s the beloved Ludwig Bemelmans!
The cover was published in May 1951–more than 10 years after the first Madeline came out in (1939) and two years before the second book, Madeline’s Rescue, was published (1953). In a sense, this cover represents a rebirth of Madeline and friends.
HOLIDAY magazine commissioned Bemelmans to illustrate their “holiday house”, which they built (at a cost of $82,976) and then featured in the magazine:
The Holiday House was designed by George Nelson, one of the founders of American Modernism.
The magazine includes a lavish spread on the house, boasting that it could be managed “without servants” (Bemelmans obviously thought otherwise).
The ideal owner? A “party-minded person” who likes to entertain “simply or lavishly.”
Here’s a look at what inspired Bemelmans:
Oh, the extravagance of it all! The cost, the creativity and a gorgeous cover to boot.
This cover is special, however, because these heroic literary characters are rubbing shoulders with the jet set. A curious place for them to make a cameo, don’t you think? Was Bemelmans, whom himself survived many hardships, injecting some sober second thought into this dreamy and privileged environment?
Now if only Miss Clavel could take a holiday.