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Ludwig Bemelmans (Austrian/American, 1898-1962), Wine Cellar (Walker Deluxe Bourbon), watercolor on paper, signed

Ludwig Bemelmans (Austrian/American, 1898-1962), Wine Cellar (Walker Deluxe Bourbon), watercolor on paper, signed

Item Description:

Signed "Bemelmans" in black ink lower right, matted, framed, and glazed

Published: Reproductions of this image were used in the advertising campaign for Hiram Walker Distillery's "Walker Deluxe Bourbon", ca. 1957-1959


Appears fine. Please contact for specific condition questions. Not examined out of the frame. Lofty does not guarantee the condition or authenticity of frames.


A gift from the Hiram Walker Distillery to the father of the current owner, an account executive for the company
Inherited by descent


Sight: Height 18 in. x Width 17 in.

Frame: Height 25 in. x Width 23.25 in.

About The Artist:

Ludwig Bemelmans, born in Meran, Austria in 1898, is perhaps best known for creating the Madeline series of illustrated children's books. Bemelmans was well known in elite social circles in the United States and Europe, though his work featured subjects from all walks of life.

Other than writing and illustrating picture books, Bemelmans was also a cartoonist, advertiser, journalist, decorator, screenwriter, hotelier, and restaurateur. At the age of sixteen, Bemelmans came to the United States and took a job at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel as a busboy. He quickly worked his way up at the hotel, and was known for drawing humorous cartoons using the hotel staff and clientele as inspiration. His sketching style was as quick as his wit, and readers were charmed by his eccentric persona.

After opening his own restaurant in 1919 and achieving budding success as a cartoonist, Bemelmans began to write children's books that he illustrated with simple watercolors, beginning with the well-received "Hansai", a beguiling story of two children and their dog in the Austrian Tyrol. He began the cherished Madeline series in 1939. The artist wrote fifteen books and many articles over the course of his career. Bemelmans was also a painter, creating murals for the children's playroom of Aristotle Onassis' yacht, and for the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York.

Bemelmans painted this advertisement as a commission for Hiram Walker Distillery's "Walker Deluxe Bourbon" in the late 1950s. This image depicts a finely dressed gentleman accompanied by a sommelier and a butler in a well-appointed wine cellar, a room for storing the most valuable vintages of wine. Instead of an outstanding wine, the service staff proudly shows the gentleman a bottle of Walker's Deluxe, which appears to delight. Bemelmans drew this original advertisement in his signature, charming caricature style, cleverly presenting the bourbon as both exclusive and refined, yet a smidge ostentatious.


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