Featured in Fortune
In April, 1936 Fortune magazine painted a less than flattering portrait of Minneapolis and Saint Paul called “Twin Cities”. In it the magazine claims that St. Paul has been in decline since the opening of the Panama Canal and is the best place in America to hire a hit man. Fortune also predicts America’s next revolution may come the Minneapolis Gateway District. The article is beautifully illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans’ paintings of Cathedral Hill, the Minnesota State Capital and various Twin City street scenes. Bemelmans became famous a few years later for his Madeline books. Six of the popular series were published from 1939-1961. A seventh was discovered after his death and published in 1999. As a writer he Bemelmans contributed to Vogue, Town and Country, The New Yorker, Fortune, Harper’s Bazaar, McCall’s and Horizon. He also wrote a few adult books and movie scripts. Later in life he became a serious painter with works now on display in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museé National d’Art of Paris. Chances are he never visited Minnesota and did his work for Fortune from photographs. The magazine caught hell from Twin City boosters and it wasn’t long before Fortune’s editors issued a 5 page addendum reappraising their conclusions and acknowledging some of the controversy the article whipped up.