"In every child, there's an artist. The trick is staying a child when you grow up." – Picasso

Like a great number of famous artists, such as Picasso, Cocteau, and others, Wilhelm Schlote loved to draw on restaurant tablecloths.

Coffee stains, sauce splotches, even circles left behind by diners’ plates (usually from those too generous with the olive oil!) had a special artistry to him. He enjoyed incorporating these “culinary” shapes and elements into every piece of tablecloth artwork he made. As he developed his own creative signature, Schlote’s affection for this “unintentional” aspect of his tablecloth art would influence him his entire life.

Schlote was (and still is) a lover of French. He is very much a lover of literature, too. His passion for such things, along with his art, brought him all the way to France to doodle straight at La Merenda’s restaurant tables, and on their very own tablecloths. For quite some time, La Merenda would be one of his favorite restaurants at which to draw, with Dominique Le Stanc never too far away, preparing food for customers. However, Schlote wouldn’t be destined to draw on tablecloths forever.

Later, he heard of a special art exhibit in Paris: an exposition of famous artists’ priceless tablecloth artworks. These pieces were done by the likes of de Beauvoire, Picasso, and many others; seminal works that would never be up for sale, each done with the simple yet elegant paper tablecloth as its canvas.

Schlote wondered, “Why did I ever stop?”

Today, Wilhelm Schlote is our prized partner, in-house designer, and artist for all packaging for La Merenda by Dominque Le Stanc: the online sister store to the French Riviera restaurant of the very same name, and where Schlote perfected his sublime “culinary” art. Though he no longer draws on La Merenda’s actual tablecloths, we like to think he still does so for La Merenda’s online store, only in a different, but just as magical, way.

One of Schlote’s greatest inspirations: the artistry from children’s books, even art from children themselves. Children’s art, says Schlote, is the purest, as it comes directly from the heart. More so, children’s books are his absolute favorite. They combine two of his favorite things: innocent and pure artwork with literature, as each children’s book contains both images and narrative to tell a heartfelt story.

Said Picasso once: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael.

But to paint like a child, that took a lifetime.”