Mymodernmet_ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince was first published in 1943. In the 80 years that have passed since its debut, it has become one of the best-selling titles of all time and has been translated into over 500 different languages and dialects worldwide. Now, in celebration of its milestone anniversary, the titular character has made its way to the streets of New York City. Villa Albertine, a French cultural institution, has unveiled a bronze statue that will greet those who walk down the iconic Fifth Avenue.
It's only fitting for The Little Prince to be found on the streets of Manhattan. After all, the book was written in New York City and in Northport, Long Island, where Antoine de Saint Exupéry lived from 1940 to 1943, having fled from his home during World War II. Furthermore, the original manuscript and drawings are housed in the Morgan Library and Museum, located just a few miles away.
“New York is a city known for its diversity, its mix of different cultures,” said Jean-Hugues Monier, Board Member of the American Society of Le Souvenir Français. “The Little Prince is a tale that celebrates the importance of such diversity and mutual understanding, which reminds us that as humans we are all connected, even if we come from different backgrounds.”
The sculpture was created by French artist Jean-Marc de Pas, who carved it from clay and cast it in bronze in one single piece at his studio in Normandy. At four feet tall, the statue is perched on the garden wall of the Payne Whitney Mansion on the Upper East Side.
The Little Prince has inspired generations of children and adults alike with its reflections on love, loss, friendship, and loneliness. Drawing from his own experiences, Saint-Exupéry tells the story of a pilot who crash lands in the desert, where he meets a young boy, with whom he forms a bond shaped by insightful observations on life and human nature.
Now, the young royal is ready to meet those who have been touched by the life-affirming messages of the book. “We are all very proud that the Little Prince will now have a fitting presence in the city of his birth,” said Thierry Chaunu, President of the American Society of Le Souvenir Français. “This loving sculpture will undoubtedly delight New Yorkers and tourists of all origins, who will be able to sit next to him and gaze with him towards the stars.”