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  • Volume XXIII, Number 3 Summer 2005

    PRINTMAKING In

    New Orleans

  • P rintmaking in New Orleans, a jointpublication of The Historic NewOrleans Collection and theUniversity Press of Mississippi, is the firstbook to survey the history of prints andrelated media associated with New Orleansand Louisiana.

    The books fourteen essayseachoriginally presented at a session of theNorth American Print Conference co-sponsored by The Historic New OrleansCollection, the New Orleans Museum ofArt, and the Louisiana State Museumaddress different aspects of the art and craft

    of printmaking. In the process, they illu-minate the history of the city and region:European exploration; urban development;architecture; commerce; transportation;religion; politics; music; Mardi Gras; food-ways; changing technologies; and changingartistic tastes. Prints are documents ofeveryday lifedocuments uniquely suitedto capture the particularity and rich com-plexity of life in New Orleans.

    By and large, local and regional print-makers did not produce elaborate pictorialimages in the manner of Currier and Ives orLouis Prangimages designed to enhancethe parlors and offices of middle-classAmerica. Instead, many local artists spe-cialized in genres often overlooked in broadsurveys of the history of prints. Few locales,for instance, can match New Orleans in theproduction of sheet music. The fantasyworld of Mardi Gras imagery is almostpurely a local phenomenon. And while othercities may have produced product labels ofsimilar vintage and quality, those created inNew Orleans reflect its specialized indus-tries and tastes. Illustrations of buildingswhether large chromolithographs orsmall-scale illustrations on letterheads andinvoice formspresent unique neighbor-hood vistas. Over the centuries, NewOrleans printmakers have captured theincomparable character, history, and pop-ular culture of the region. Printmaking inNew Orleans introduces their art to abroader audience.

    The book is dedicated to the memoryof John A. Mah II (19481991), formersenior curator at The Historic New OrleansCollection and organizer of the 1987 printconference. The images reproduced herecan only hint at the rich treasury of materi-als displayed and discussed in this longawaited volume. (For ordering informa-tion, see page 15.)

    drawn from editor Jessie Poeschsintroduction to the book

    2

    A Season for ArtPrintmaking in New Orleans Scheduled for Fall Delivery

    REFLECTING NEW ORLEANSS THRIVING 19TH-CENTURYSHEET MUSIC INDUSTRY

    The Picayune Frog Polka by Alphonse Barra, 1894. M. F. Dunn and Bro., lithographer and engraver.Chromolithograph (86-1542-RL). As both Jessie Poesch and Alfred Lemmon observe in their essays, sheetmusic covers reflect the developing profile of the city and the expanding commercial potential of printmaking.The New Orleans Daily Picayunes weather frog was introduced on January 13, 1894, to accompany thedaily forecast. After an absence of approximately 19 years, the weather frog was reintroduced on July 6,1955, and appears to this day in the Times-Picayune.

  • 3

    TRANSFORMING PRODUCT LABELS INTO WORKS OF ARTIntroduction: Printmaking in New OrleansJessie J. Poesch

    Publicizing a Vast New Land: VisualPropaganda for Attracting Coloniststo Eighteenth-Century LouisianaGay M. Gomez

    Walking the Streets of New Orleans:Printed Maps and Street ScenesJohn A. Mah II

    The Art Preservative of All Arts: Early Printing in New OrleansFlorence M. Jumonville

    A Pelicans-Eye View: The UrbanGrowth of New Orleans Through Birds-Eye ViewsJohn Magill

    A New Plane: Pre-Civil WarLithography in New OrleansPriscilla Lawrence

    Playing New Orleans: The Citys Neighborhoods and Sheet MusicAlfred E. Lemmon

    A Louisiana Architects Prints andDrawings: The Works of Marie AdrienPersac, 1832-1873Barbara SoRelle Bacot

    Jules Lion, F.M.C.: LithographerExtraordinairePatricia Brady

    Local Color: Chromolithography in New OrleansKellye M. Rosenheim

    Illustrated Periodicals in Post-Civil War New OrleansJudith H. Bonner

    Morris Henry Hobbs: In Old New OrleansClaudia Kheel

    Purist Aesthetic and Tradition inClarence John LaughlinsPhotographs: Solid Foundations forthe Third World of PhotographyJohn H. Lawrence

    Twentieth-CenturyArtists/Printmakers in New OrleansEarl Retif

    Caroline Durieux: Louisianas MasterPrintmaker for the Twentieth CenturyH. Parrott Bacot

    T H E C H A P T E R S

    View of Jackson Square, NewOrleans, Louisiana by Pessou andSimon, 1855. Color lithograph(1948.3). Priscilla Lawrences chapter on pre-Civil War lithographytraces the careers of many of NewOrleanss earliest lithographers, suchas Louis Lucien Pessou and BenedictSimon, P. Langlum, J. B. Pointel duPortail, Jules Manouvrier, PaulCavailler, and Louis Xavier Magny.

    SHOWCASING THE TALENTS OF NOTED LOUISIANA ARTISTS

    ILLUMINATING THE HISTORY OF THE REGION

    Can label for Womans Club Brand Coffee by Walle and Co., Ltd., lithographer; Susus Frederick VonEhren, probable designer, between 1916 and 1920. Chromolithograph (1979.369.25). Commercialproduct labels are rich resources for historians of printmakingand perhaps no product can match coffeeas a stimulus to scholars and to the local economy. Whereas 19th-century consumers bought freshly groundcoffee from local grocers in plain brown paper bags, 20th-century consumers began to select among brandsof packaged coffee distinguished by unique colorful labels. Jessie Poesch surveys product labels in herintroduction, and Kellye Rosenheim discusses their manufacture in her chapter on chromolithography.

    Eliza Field, Eliza Dubourg Field, andOdile Field by Jules Lion, 1838.Lithograph (1970.11.141). Patricia Bradydiscusses the artistic contributions of JulesLion, a prolific antebellum lithographerknown for his portraits of leadingLouisianians.

    The Solidity of Shadows, Number One by ClarenceJohn Laughlin, 1953. Photoprint (1981.247.1.1080).John Lawrences chapter on the photographic work ofClarence John Laughlin explores the purist aspects ofLaughlins photographs rather than the manipulated workfor which he is better known, arguing that Laughlinsability to work within a strong, almost rigid tradition andstill speak with distinction and clarity is what made hima visionary.

  • In the last quarter of the 19th century,planned recreational areas, often situ-ated near bodies of water, rose up acrossthe country. Bucktown, situated on LakePontchartrain, offered New Orleanians theopportunity to swim, fish, boat, dine atseafood restaurants, and attend annual boatraces. At the peak of its popularity as aresort community, in the early 20th cen-tury, Bucktown welcomed an influx ofvacationers who rented camps for week-ends or entire summers. Many arrived bythe West End streetcar, which departedfrom its terminal at South Rampart andCanal Streets, headed out Canal toward thecemeteries, turned left toward the NewBasin Canal, then continued out along thecanal to the lake. Among the areas land-marks are Brunings, the only survivingrestaurant from the period, and the familyhome built by Captain John C. Bruning, aself-appointed lifeguard for the childrenplaying beneath camps, catching minnows,and building sandcastles.

    Jeannette Boutall Woest, a member ofthe Bruning family, grew up in Bucktownduring its heyday as a recreation site. As thecommunity began to change in the mid-20th century, Woest, a self-taught artist,documented the Bucktown of her youth inwatercolor sketches and in journals.Through the generosity of the artistsdaughter, Dianne Audrey Woest, a numberof these paintings and diaries have beendonated to The Historic New OrleansCollection and a fellowship in the arts andhumanities established.

    The Dianne Woest bequest includes 67views of Bucktown, West End, and otherneighborhoods painted by Jeannette Woestfrom the 1960s through the 1980s. Theartists sensitivity to change is evident inher paintings of lakefront landmarks:Brunings, Fitzgeralds, Swansons, andMaggie and Smittys restaurants; the GapBridge, Breakwater Drive, and Shell Road;the 17th Street and New Basin Canals; theSouthern Yacht Club, the fountain at West

    End, and Shultzs Fresh Hardware. In 1966,Woests paintings were displayed at theInternational Trade Mart and featured inDixie-Roto magazine.

    In addition to Bucktown and the lake-front, Woest captured the CentralBusiness District in paintings of theODECO Building, the Plaza Tower, theInternational Trade Mart, the AmericanBank, Hibernia Bank, Porters, Sears,Barnetts, and Factors Row. Other worksrecorded current events, such as hurricanesBesty and Camille; aware of the documen-tary function of her art, Woest often affixednewspaper articles to the backs of her paint-ings to provide historical context. Herdaughters gift to The Collection helpsensure that memories of Bucktown andother New Orleans neighborhoods willnot fade.

    Judith H. Bonner

    4

    West End by Jeannette Boutall Woest, September 11, 1966(2005.0210.2.8)

    Houses at Bucktown by Jeannette Boutall Woest, September 10, 1966(2005.0210.2.25)

    The Sunday after Camille by Jeannette Boutall Woest, August 24, 1969(2005.0210.2.21)

    Big House: All Cleaned Up after Betsy by Jeannette Boutall Woest, May 22, 1966 (2005.0210.2.3)

    BUCKTOWN REMEMBEREDThe Art of Jeannette Boutall Woest

  • 5

    FROM THE DIRECTOR

    Any museum professional will tell of the joyassociated with an exhibition that drawsthrongs of visitors from both near and far.Curators, preparators, registrars, and docents alikeexperience a sense of accomplishmentmonths of hard work are real-ized when the story being told piques the interest of the public. Such isthe state of the staff of The Collection this summer with the over-whelming success of The Terrible and the Brave: The Battles for NewOrl

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