Two Ludwig Bemelmans Drawings

Value (2008) | $17,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
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GUEST:
What I mainly know is that I love them, because I've collected the books. And then my husband gave me first the London one about 20 years ago as a Christmas gift, and about ten years ago the Noodle.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so enlighten us, who's the artist here?

GUEST:
His name is Ludwig Bemelmans.

APPRAISER:
And he is famous for...

GUEST:
Madeline books...

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
I would say are the most...

APPRAISER:
That's the most recognizable name. He's a very famous illustrator. And he was actually a German immigrant. Came to the United States. Actually has painted some murals at a bistro that he owned in Paris some time ago. So he was into murals. And obviously he was into doing children's illustrations. And this is an illustration from one of the books. And this is called Madeline in London. Now, everybody knows of Madeline in Paris. Do you know the line in Madeline when it says, "In the middle of the night, "Miss Clavel turned on the light and said, 'Something is not right'"?

GUEST:
"Something is not right."

APPRAISER:
Yeah, well, when I first looked at this, you look and you see the beautiful hand-applied color, and the colors start up here at the British flag. And the white of this here and obviously the famous double-decker bus down here and these statues are all done in a gouache overcolor. So they really pop off the page. But when we turn to the black lines is when we begin to think that there might be an issue here. And I thought to myself, "I think these lines are printed." But it turns out that they're not, because once you get them into the right light, you see that there is a gradation in the black. And that is... a printed line stays black from end to end and it's the same shade of black. So that's what putting this in the right light allows us to tell.

GUEST:
Oh, good.

APPRAISER:
He died in 1962. And in 1961 he finished Madeline in London. So these were probably sold as part of his estate. So he probably never really intended these to go anywhere, which is why he was a little haphazard with what he did, including signing over the white mark down at the bottom. And this one here. Now tell me what you know about this one.

GUEST:
Well, this was done as an illustration for somebody else's book.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And... but I do know that he loved dachshunds himself.

APPRAISER:
Okay. But you said you thought that the book was never published.

GUEST:
I don't know whether it was ever published.

APPRAISER:
Actually the book was published.

GUEST:
Oh?

APPRAISER:
It says at the bottom here, "Sketch for Noodle."

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And it's signed over here. And Noodle was a book that was written by Munro Leaf in 1937, and was a collaborative effort. Noodle the dachshund finds a wishbone and changes his appearance. It's a great story. It's likely that this sketch, if it's contemporaneous with the book, would have been done in about 1936, a few years before the Madeline series and well before the 1961 Madeline in London. Bemelmans have gone up in value considerably recently. On this one, given that it is a full sketch, part of the estate, wonderful piece, it's probably worth around $12,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
Whoa!

APPRAISER:
And this one, Mr. Noodle, is, although not as famous, a wonderful sketch, and is worth probably around $5,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
You done good.

GUEST:
Oh, I'm... I am astounded! That's great!

APPRAISER:
Congratulations, it's a great pair.

GUEST:
Thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
You're certainly welcome.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin & Whitehurst Appraisal Group
Stuart, Florida
Appraised value (2008)
$17,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Animal, Drawing
Material
Gouache, Ink, Paper
December 19, 2011: We contacted appraiser Stuart Whitehurst for an updated appraisal of this object in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $18,000 - $20,000 (Increased)

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