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Arts Around Town: Children's classic, 'Madeline,' marks 75th anniversary with exhibition

By Susan Kalan, WFMZ.com Arts Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 17 2014 01:30:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2014 01:41:18 PM CDT

The Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans

She's the precocious, red-headed Parisian girl, the smallest of the 12 who always walked in two straight lines led by Miss Clavel. Her adventures have captured the hearts of readers for generations in the iconic children’s classic, "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans, which celebrates its 75th anniversary with a special exhibition that's not to be missed.

Through Oct. 13, the New-York Historical Society is hosting "Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans," an exhibition honoring the schoolgirl and her creator in the first exhibition devoted to the artist in more than 50 years. The exhibition was organized by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, where it will return at the end of its New York premiere.

"Since its publication 75 years ago, Madeline has enchanted generations of readers," said Jane Curley, guest curator. "What is the secret of her lasting charm? Confident and charismatic, Madeline is a heroine who faces life's vicissitudes with aplomb – just as her creator did."

The exhibition features more than 100 works, many recently rediscovered, with drawings, paintings, specially commissioned objects, archival photographs and memorabilia. Also on display is the original Madeline manuscript and original drawings from all of the Madeline books which provide insight into Bemelmans' creative process. Commissioned work includes murals created for the children’s playroom of Aristotle Onassis's yacht, "The Christina," in 1953.

"It all started when Jacqueline Kennedy wrote Bemelmans a fan letter from Hyannis Port," Curley explained. "He sent back a sketch of Madeline, and a friendship developed. They talked of collaborating on a story in which Madeline visits the White House, but Bemelmans' death in October 1962 ended the idea. Fifty years later, his grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, published "Madeline at the White House." With a deep appreciation for his grandfather's legacy, he continues Madeline's adventures today."

Other highlights of the exhibition include the crayon and watercolor drawing, "One nice morning Miss Clavel said," depicting Miss Clavel rounding up the 12 little girls in a picturesque Paris park, with the Arc de Triomphe in the distance; and the oil painting, " Madeline at the Paris Flower Market" (1955), an iconic image of Bemelmans' heroine and alter-ego, that captures Madeline's character: cosmopolitan, curious, courageous, adventurous, and a lover of animals.

In addition to the 75th anniversary of Madeline, it also is the 100th anniversary of Bemelmans' arrival in New York as an immigrant. Born in 1898, he was a natural storyteller who drew and wrote with fluency about his childhood memories blended with his experiences as an adult to create "Madeline," published in 1939. It is said his writing of Madeline began in Pete's Tavern near Manhattan's Gramercy Park.

For further info: nyhistory.org

ARTS ROUNDUP

Bethlehem's got the blues this weekend with the annual Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation, 1461 Schoenersville Rd., beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. There will be tours of the colonial home and barns of James Burnside, colonial games and crafts, and the annual blueberry pie-eating contest for all ages. Musical entertainment includes CoraCree, Billy Bauer Duo, Roots of Rhythm, and the Twin Rivers Violin Ensemble.

Kicking off the weekend will be the 2014 Pints from the Past craft beer, wine, mead and food pairing event on Friday at 5:30 p.m., a ticketed event. Entertainment will be provided by husband-and-wife duo Maggie and Eric Gernerd, known as Maggie Spike.

For further info: HistoricBethlehem.org

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"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" comes to life at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut St., Allentown, on Friday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Guided tours through the museum will showcase such characters as the Good Witch, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and even the Wizard himself.

Visitors also will enjoy a rare showing of the earliest surviving film version of L. Frank Baum’s book, created by the Selig Polyscope Company in 1910. The 13-minute silent fantasy film draws heavily on both the book and the 1902 stage musical adaptation.

For further info: lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org

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It's Topsy Turvy Tuesdays through Aug. 19 at the Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River Rd., Sand Island, Bethlehem, when master storyteller and Touchstone Theater co-founder Bill George presents his original, one-man children's show, "Da Pooch," on July 22 at 10:30 a.m.

The series continues with Dave Fry and his "I Like Peanut Butter" and sing-along on July 29, followed by a storytelling workshop by the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild on Aug. 5, and Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre's "Shadow Stories" on Aug. 12 and "Just Like a Puppet" on Aug. 19.

For further info: 123pyt.org

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The Valley Vivaldi Chamber Music Series in Bethlehem features the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., at Wesley Church, 2540 Center St., followed by a reception with the musicians, including oboist Nobuo Kitagawa, violinist Simon Maurer, and flutist Robin Kani.

Spirited Baroque works by Antonio Vivaldi will be performed, along with selections by Johann Sebastian Bach, Luigi Boccherini and Johann Pachelbel, including "Canon in D."

The final concert in the summer series will be Aug. 17 at the church.

For further info: PASinfonia.org

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Stage and screen star Marilu Henner joins Bucks County playwright Christopher Durang in Durang’s own “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” beginning tonight through Aug. 10, at the Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope. The action involves narcissistic B-movie star Masha coming home to Bucks County to visit her anguished siblings with a few surprises in store.

The Tony Award-winning best musical, "Ain’t Misbehavin'," running Aug. 14 through Sept. 7, features the brother and sister team of Aisha and Darius de Haas, in the recreation of the Golden Age of Harlem nightclub and the songs of Fats Waller.

For further info: bcptheater.org

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The call is for artists and poets to submit work to "Celebrate Allentown" for an upcoming exhibit at TMD Gallery Fine Art, 10 S. 13th St. Artists are encouraged to share work inspired by Allentown, whether new or older pieces, to celebrate the rebirth of the city. Poetry will be hung with the visual art. All work must be ready for hanging, including poetry pieces.

Work must be submitted by Aug. 15. The exhibit will run Sept. 6 through Oct. 30.

For further info: millergy@verizon.net or 610-740-3031.

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"DOMESTICA," an exhibition by six Pennsylvania artists that exemplify the breadth of creativity across the state, is on display through Aug. 16 at the Grossman Gallery at Lafayette College in Easton. Participating artists are Amze Emmons of Philadelphia, William Hudders of Easton, Elizabeth Johnson of Easton, Dee Jenkins of Harrisburg, David Nicholas of Bethlehem, and Kim Malm Thomas of Harleysville.

Also on campus is Easton artist Paul Deery’s "Goldberg Variations" in the Hallway Gallery of the Williams Visual Arts Building.

For further info: sterlinw@lafayette.edu

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Paintings and works on paper by Spanish artist Amaya Espinoza are on exhibit at RE:find Gallery, 437 Northampton St., Easton, through Aug. 3. Espinoza is Artist-in-Residence at Lafayette College's Experimental Printmaking Institute this summer. She produced a series of original images and narrative for a limited-edition artist’s book.

Born in Paris, Espinoza was awarded a scholarship to the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia in 1982 and was a resident artist in New Jersey from 1986 to 1989. Renowned works include the paintings "Las Muertes del Rey Don Pedro" in homage to King Don Pedro and two large collaborative mosaic murals in Burgos, Spain.

For further info: lafayette.edu

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Due to weather conditions, the annual Sousa concert by the Allentown Band scheduled at West Park in Allentown will now take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Soloist is Caitlin Worrich, trombone.

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