Le Bon Temps à NOLA: Bonbons at the NOMA 1

It was just going to be one post on the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). I was just going to do what I had done with Corcoran, one post. But I started looking at the shots and said, the beginning are really crappy, but then you get into the primitive collection, some of the pottery and then Chihuly and glass. A thoughtful modern collection and then the wonderful sculpture garden. So it became a second blog, and soon a third. And all of this as a freebie on Wednesday, last December. You take the streetcar on Canal north, and there you are, cher.

The interior of the original wing of the museum. From what I can see, the original must have been a two story building with an open enclosed courtyard and galleries off of it. The new wing is behind it, and 3 storeys.

The DeYoung, the St. Louis Museum of Art (as I remember it) and the Baltimore Museum of Art have a familiarity similar to NOMA. They are not grandiose size like the Philly or Met, but they have very sound collections and their housings are a little younger, more intimate and more compact. I was quote happy over seeing this collection. As art students, and former art students a lot of what we visualize is stuff housed inside museums. Famous works of art, smothered under glass, trapped away or non seeable, with an occasional release of a photo, or a “corporate” traveling show from a private collection.

Jan LievensPortrait of an Old ManLievens, a fellow student with Rembrandt, was considered a better painter when they were both alive.

Minor artists, or lesser known artists, are often shelved away. We don’t make time to pay attention to their work. Which is why either being to go online, or to photograph, becomes an important reason for studying work. I have heard mention of Rembrandt’s teacher, but have never seen his work except in the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam. I may have seen his work, but either did not know or was running to see the work of the master. Hence, why certain shows are important. In the Hopper show in Rome, it was important to see the coming together of so much work, often housed in lesser known, local museums.

Marinus van Reymerswaele‘s The Lawyer’s Office

Hendrick Garritsz Pot Scenes from a Bordello and Pieter van der Bosch Kitchen Interior with a Woman Scouring Pans

These two, subjects aside, are good examples of interior paintings done in that style that would make Vermeer so famous. The scale and the sense of light are so inherent with the Dutch of this period. Pot was a fellow student with Hals and actually was painted by Hals in one of the group guild things, the Dutch are so famous for. I am having trouble locating Pieter van der Bosch other work as many are listing him as van den Bosch, which may be a difference in aging of the Dutch language. There are several versions of women scouring pots, if it isa

Cornelis de Heem‘s Still Life with Fruit on a Ledge

Dutch and Flemish paintings are mostly in the galleries downstairs in the original section of the museum. The inside open courtyard has many interesting contemporary works, including the work of a self-made artist, Bruce Davenport, Jr. Several of his works are shown including the one below.

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Denis Van Alsloot and Hendrick de Clerck St John the Baptist Preaching

 Bruce Davenport, Jr. Self-Taught Artist (6th series)

If the ground floor, old wing, is mostly Dutch and Flemish within galleries, with contemporary work in the interior courtyard, the upper level is more French and English portraiture, with various works, including American landscape on the interior courtyard walls. A rather dramatic hanging of one of France’s most renown woman artists, Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s Marie Antoinette Reine de France (below). Money aside, I am curious how this museum got portraits of the doomed couple, as both were done by their official court painters.

Antoine-François Callet Louis XVI and Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun Marie Antoinette, Reine de France

Claude Lorrain Ideal View of Tivoli

There are some painters who you are always happy to see, I always believe Corot and Turner are in landscape, another is Lorrain. This Lorrain is not as lovely as some, but he is building space very nicely here with soft light and atmospheric recession.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze’ Portrait of Marie Angélique Vérany

Notice how Greuze’ use of texture predates what Ingres will do in his portraits of women.

Nicolas de Largillière Self Portrait and Attributed to Jean François Delyen Portrait of a Wine Merchant

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Jean Baptiste Monnoyer’s Flowers in an Urn

This is a nice contrast next to some of the Dutch still lives, although this is owes a tribute to people like Ruysch.

English appear more on the outer wall of the courtyard, as do Americans. There is also  a room which has a collection of about 12 minature portraits in oval frames (directly below, right).

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Sir Thomas Lawrence Portrait of Anne-Jane Gore, Marchioness of Abercorn and two miniatures

Gilbert Stuart’s Portrait of Lydia Pinkering Williams (and detail) and Joshua Johnston’s Little Girl holding a Box of Cherries

After spending a good part of the year trying to get my kids to learn how to “block in” a painting, here we see Stuart doing it quite differently,  building up facial features while carefully blocking in areas of background color. I hope she is not Washington in drag!

William Aiken Walker’s Cotton Gin

A straightforward and quite appealing American landscape from the 1880s. It subject predates Schiller and doesn’t have that drab brownness often seen in American landscapes. I have seen other pieces, for Walker painted for tourists to make a living, but some of these are a little too stereotypical for the 21st century.

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