Laurent de Brunhoff: Babar Watercolors
The story of Babar began in 1930 when Madame Cécile de Brunhoff, a young French mother, invented the story of a little elephant to entertain her two small sons, Mathieu and Laurent. The children, delighted by the story, related it to their father, painter Jean de Brunhoff, who illustrated it. The first Babar book appeared in 1931, titled The Magical Story of Babar. Jean de Brunhoff produced six more before dying in 1937.
Laurent de Brunhoff was thirteen years old at the time of his father’s death. He illustrated the cover of Jean’s final Babar book, published post-mortem. In 1946, at the age of twenty-one, Laurent wrote and illustrated his first Babar book, Babar’s Cousin: That Rascal Arthur, bringing the famed character back to life. Since then, Laurent de Brunhoff has written and illustrated 60+ Babar books. Published continuously for almost 90 years, the Babar books have been translated into 18 languages and millions of copies have been sold worldwide. They are among the most celebrated of all children’s books, treasured by generations.
For over 30 years, Mary Ryan Gallery has been the exclusive representative of Laurent and Jean de Brunhoff’s art, including all Babar published watercolor illustrations, studies, and drawings. The gallery’s commitment to promoting the Babar illustrations is driven by a belief that the best of children’s book illustrations can be seen as fine art. Mary Ryan Gallery has placed the work of Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff in the collections of the Morgan Library, NY; Houghton Library at Harvard University, MA; and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France.