press release

Among the victims of Hurricane Katrina is the venerable New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). According to recent assessments, the flooding following the storm inflicted more than $6,000,000 in damage on NOMA’s physical plant and its adjacent five-acre sculpture garden. The museum’s Director, E. John Bullard, its Deputy Director Jacqueline Sullivan and their Board of Trustees now have to cope with an absolute catastrophe in terms of the financing of their daily operations. Indeed, every day they are faced with the question of their museum’s very survival. Sources of revenue have been drastically curtailed, as the museum can expect little funding from either the municipal government of New Orleans or the state of Louisiana; both are economically overwhelmed by the realities of physical destruction and population displacement. Some key sources of individual and corporate funding have dried up.

Much of the museum’s membership and its cadre of volunteers are either dispersed or have had to remain inactive. Special events such as exhibitions and docent tours for both adults and children have been seriously affected. Even more alarming is the fact that budgetary constraints required the dismissal of almost eighty-five percent of NOMA’s staff of curators, administrative personnel, photographers, art handlers, guards, gardeners and maintenance workers. The museum is presently operating with little more than a skeleton crew of forty. Since March 3 of this year, it has been opening its doors to the public free of charge, first for three days a week, more recently for five days. However, attendance so far is only 20% of pre-Katrina levels. For 2005 alone, NOMA incurred a deficit of $700,000, and that type of loss is expected to continue.

To benefit NOMA and call attention to this crisis situation, Wildenstein & Co. is organizing a fund-raising exhibition that will be part of the museum’s $15,000,000 Katrina Recovery Campaign. It will include approximately one hundred European and American works of art—paintings, drawings, pastels, sculpture and decorative objects—dating from between the XIVth and the XXIst centuries, the majority of which belong to the museum. The show, which will be open to the general public between November 17, 2006 and February 9, 2007, will be accompanied by a fully illustrated and documented catalogue that includes an in-depth account of the history of New Orleans until 1910 and its stellar art museum.

Among the finest European works that will be featured are Lorenzo Lotto’s Portrait of a Bearded Man of c. 1530-35; Abraham Bloemaert’s St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness of c. 1625-30; Luca Giordano’s Baptism of Christ of c. 1680; Charles Joseph Natoire’s The Toilet of Psyche, of c. 1735 (a painting that was already in New Orleans by the late 1840s); Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Boy Holding a Book of c. 1747-50; Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun’s full-length Portrait of Marie Antoinette of c. 1788; Edgar Degas’ portrait of his New Orleans-born cousin and sister-in-law, Estelle Musson De Gas of 1872; Auguste Rodin’s full-size Age of Bronze of 1876; Pierre Bonnard’s Study for the Affiche of “La Revue Blanche” of 1894; Odilon Redon‘s Shadow and Light of c. 1900; Georges Braque’s Landscape at L’Estaque of 1906; Wassily Kandinsky’s Study for “Several Circles” of 1926; Joan Miró’s Persons in the Presence of a Metamorphosis of 1936; René Magritte’s The Art of Conversation of 1950; Naum Gabo’s Construction in Space: Suspended of 1957; and Pablo Picasso’s Woman in an Armchair of 1960. One of the outstanding masterpieces on exhibit will be Constantin Brancusi’s bronze Sophisticated Young Lady (Nancy Cunard) of 1928-32, which is being lent from a private collection.

The American school will be represented by such works as John Singleton Copley’s Portrait of Colonel George Watson of 1768; Asher B. Durand’s Forenoon of 1847; Robert Henri’s The Blue Kimono of 1909; Jacques Lipchitz’s Bather of c. 1916-17; Georgia O’Keeffe’s My Back Yard of 1937; Jackson Pollock’s Composition (White, Black, Blue and Red on White) of 1948; Joseph Cornell’s Radar Astronomy of c. 1952-56; Richard Diebenkorn’s Woman on Porch of 1958; Sam Francis’s White Line I of 1959; Louise Bourgeois’ Female Portrait of 1962-82; Romare Bearden’s Jazz, Kansas City of 1977; Louise Nevelson’s Cascades Perpendicular XVIII of 1980-82; and Chuck Close’s Alex of 1996. A fairly recent work by the New Orleans painter and watercolorist Henry Casselli, Bird’s Nest, is a particularly moving depiction of a young African-American girl and should attract a great deal of attention.

It is fitting that the exhibition take place on the premises of Wildenstein & Co., as there is an important precedent for it in the firm’s history. In 1953, Wildenstein organized a show commemorating the Louisiana Purchase at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, as the New Orleans Museum of Art was then called. Thanks to that initiative, the French National Museums lent numerous masterpieces of French art to New Orleans.


The Odyssey Continues
Masterworks from the New Orleans Museum of Art and from Private New Orleans Collections

Künstler: Lorenzo Lotto, Richard Diebenkorn, Abraham Bloemaert, Luca Giordano, Charles Joseph Natoire, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Odilon Redon, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Naum Gabo, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, John Singleton Copley, Asher B. Durand, Robert Henri, Jacques Lipchitz, Georgia O´Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Joseph Cornell, Sam Francis, Louise Bourgeois, Romare Bearden, Louise Nevelson, Chuck Close, Henry Casselli ...