Throughout the Twentieth Century, New Orleans sustained a healthy Bohemian population of artists and other intellectuals. A mystique developed that New Orleans was a leader of artistic expression among Southern cities. Because art has been so important to the life of the city, almost all of the Special  Collections departments preserve significant research holdings about New Orleans artists, art associations, and art galleries.

A special resource is the Louisiana Research Collection's (LaRC) art ephemera. Ephemera are small printed items (such as brochures or invitations) intended for a short, or ephemeral, lifespan. A special strength of our art collection is invitations to art gallery openings. LaRC's art ephemera collection begins around 1900 and extends to the present. It is a catalogue of artists, local and foreign, living and deceased, who interested the people in this city. The collection documents:

  • Which artists were exhibited in New Orleans
  • In what galleries
  • When they exhibited
  • and the various genre the artists worked in at the time.

As gallery openings were ostensibly for art retail, the gallery invitations and announcements also approximately represent that public’s taste in art at the time; and, our art ephemera is a way to gauge how and when artistic influences filtered into New Orleans.

The art ephemera can be searched by artist and gallery. You can search the ephemera collection from this website's home page.

LaRC also preserves papers of artists and records of area art associations. In addition to papers and records, LaRC's Carnival Collection preserves extensive holdings of original costume and float designs. More significant holdings are described below.

Among LaRC's archival holdings pertaining to art are:

Our earliest art gallery invitation..

  • Artists' Association of New Orleans. See Rosemonde E. and Emile Kuntz Collection, Manuscripts Collection 600.
  • Bieber, Margarete (1879-1976) Papers (1907-1974), ca. 26 linear feet. Manuscripts Collection 410. Classicist, art historian, author. Personal and professional correspondence, research notes, photographs, galley proofs, reviews, student records.
  • Burman, Ben Lucien 1896-1984, and Burman, Alice Caddy 1896-1977, Papers, ca. 1927-1984, 40 linear feet. Correspondence, articles, book drafts, scrapbooks, photographs, sketches, and other papers documenting this Southern husband and wife, novelist/artist team. They were most famous for their "Catfish Bend" satires. Ben Lucien Burman also achieved fame as a North African-based journalist during World War II, where his exposes of the Vichy regime earned him the Legion of Honor.

Mario Villa Gallery, 1993

  • Clements, George Henry (Illustrator). 1913, 6 items, M1106. Six ink and watercolor sketches by George Henry Clements, c. 1913, created to illustrate Daddy Do-Funny’s Wisdom Jingles by Ruth McEnery Stuart, 1913.
  • Davis, Coralie Guarino, Costume sketches 1954-1964, 131 items. Manuscripts Collection 723. Costume designs and descriptions for Louisiana Carnival organizations Maids of Troy, Ancient Scribes of New Orleans, Andalusia of New Iberia; and Faed Setum of Lafayette. Includes pencil sketches, watercolor designs, written descriptions, programs and newclippings.
  • Faget, Mignon (1934- ) Advertisements (1968-1985), 217 pieces (photocopies), Manuscripts Collections 715. Copies of advertisements of a New Orleans clothing and jewelry designer. Includes articles dealing with her life and designs and a lengthy interview for Les Beaux Arts.
  • Favrot, Carmen Freret (1892-1979) Papers, 1914-1979. 275 pieces. Manuscripts Collection 735. Collection of 275 jewelry designs and drawings for metalwork by Newcomb craftsperson Carmen F. Favrot. Designs are for pins, rings, necklaces, crosses, monograms, luggage tags, utensils, and bracelet.
  • Hoehr-Muller Family Papers, 1862-1966, 733 pieces, Manuscripts Collection 551. Correspondence and manuscripts of Emile Hoehn (d. 1917), Swiss Consul in N.O., of his son Werner Conrad Hoehn (1882-1940), and engineer and painter in N.O., and of the latter's wife Marie Louise Muller. Includes letters pertaining to Werner's career as a painter, reviews of exhibits in which he participated, and several original drawings.
  • Hutson, Ethel, LA artist and suffragist, 3,714 items (1908-1922). Pertains primarily to her career as a journalist and her interest in women's suffrage.
  • Japanese printed sash depicting Russo-Japanese War scenes, c. 1904-1905, 1 item, Manuscripts Collection 952. This sash is of the type used by jinrikisha pullers in Japan and contains two panels. The panel on the left depicts a dancer in a theater entertaining a group of Russian naval officers. The right panels depicts the same officers on return to their ship, which was sunk during their absence. In the upper right, the sun smiles on their discomfort.

The Arts and Crafts Club was a central force
in the French Quarter Renaissance.

  • Martinez, Raymond J., Papers 1928-1958, 1,069 pieces, Manuscripts Collection 103. Martinez served as business manager for Arts and Antiques and Arts, Industries and Southern Opinion magazines.
  • Levy, Miriam, Papers 1916-1960. 6 cubic feet. Manuscripts Collection 710. Jewelry designs by Newcomb metalworker and art craftsperson; correspondence including a letter by Ellsworth Woodward; notebook of clients; Newcomb art class notes; undergraduate designs; designs for Hausemann's jewelry; personal photographs; newsclippings. Inventory available.
  • Sompayrac, Willard, Irma, Papers 1933-1963, 9 pieces, Manuscripts Collection 671. Includes a scrapbook of articles by Willard, the draft of an article on Louisiana history, two papers on the origins of the natchitoches Art Colony, and a copy of the Report on Art Archives written by Willard as State Supervisor, Art Education Department. Also includes a genealogy of the Sompayrac family.
  • Stevens, Will Henry, Collection c. 1930s - 1940s. 105 pieces (photographic copies) Manuscripts Collection 196. Professor of art, Newcomb Art School, 1921-1948. Black and white photographs and color transparencies of his work.
  • Woodward, Ellsworth, Papers, 1914 [1925] - 1939, LA artist, 528 items, Manuscripts Collection 10. Correspondence and speeches of a New Orleans artist associated with Newcomb Art School, the Delgado Museum, and various art societies. Includes documents about the Lousiana Art Teachers Association and the Southern States Art League.

Glade Gallery, 1970

  • Woodward, William, Papers, 1893-1901, LA and MS artist, 280 items. Letters, papers, circulars and announcements of a Professor of Art and Architecture at Tulane University.
  • Southern States Art League, LA-based art association, ca. 22 cu.ft. (1922-1946)

Researchers should also note that the Louisiana Collection's extensive Carnival Collection contains thousands of original costume and float designs.