Painting of the character Madeline in a flower shop
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Madeline in New York: Bemelmans' iconic schoolgirl on display as she turns 75

The New York Historical Society is showing an exhibition dedicated to Madeline, the little girl living in a boarding school in Paris.

"Madeline in New York" features artwork from creator Ludwig Bemelmans 75 years after the book was first released.

The Austrian-born Bemelmans lived and worked in New York and was "the ultimate hipster", according to the chief curator Stephen Edidin.

First published in 1939, Madeline has sold millions of book copies and led to merchandise such as dolls, stickers, pyjamas and later a TV series.

Bemelmans' grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, has continued his grandfather's work with three more books of Madeline's adventures.

He says that Madeline is not French, but a real New Yorker.

The BBC asked John Bemelmans Marciano and curator Jane Curley who the real inspiration was for the little rebellious girl - and obtained two very different answers.

Produced by the BBC's Anna Bressanin

Madeline artwork courtesy of TM and Ludwig Bemelmans, LLC

Picture This is a series of video features published every Thursday on the BBC News website which illustrate interviews with authors about their new books.

  • 10 Jul 2014
Go to next video: The art of the public apology