New Orleans Artistry

New Orleans is celebrating its 300th birthday this year and the entire city continues to be the ultimate creative space. Dripping with history, NOLA is often thought of as a party town, especially along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. But there is much, much more to New Orlean’s culture than alcohol.

Foremost, it’s the birthplace of Jazz and hometown of Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino… and Harry Connick, Jr., … and many other amazing musicians from the right and left banks of the Mississippi River.

Though it’s a strong one, Jazz isn’t the only draw to the Crescent City. There’s the food, cajun and creole and stuffed with fresh seafood. And beignets anytime of the day. Yes, BEIGNETS!

Like most grown-up cities, New Orleans also appreciates visual artists. On a recent trip to NOLA, I couldn’t resist visiting the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), both of which allow patrons to photograph their art!

At the Ogden, I was thrilled to find a wing of “Southern Vernacular Art” featuring many oil and collage works by Benny Andrews. I can’t recall where I first saw a painting by Benny Andrews, but I liked his style and subjects and was hooked. When I researched Benny, not only did I find out Benny was from Georgia (like me), but he also attended Fort Valley State College (like me)! While I didn’t graduate from Fort Valley State College, I’m proud to have spent the academic year 1983-1984 at this remarkable historically black college in the heart of Georgia.

Benny was born in Plainview, Georgia, in 1930, and his father, George Andrews, was a sharecropper and a self-taught artist. (Both of my maternal grandparents, and their parents, were sharecroppers in South Georgia). After graduating high school, the first in his family to do so, Benny joined the service and later used his G.I. Bill to study at the the Art Institute of Chicago (the article “240 Minutes at the The Art Institute of Chicago” features a Benny Andrews painting!).

Benny was an activist and advocate for African-American artists. To my delight, the Ogden had several of his collages made using fabric and wallpaper. Some of the collage features are so 3-D, they cast shadows, as do some of the deep frames.

Following are Benny’s collages, plus other works that caught my eye at the Ogden and NOMA. Enjoy!!

Alice, 1966
Benny Andrews, Alice, 1966, oil and collage (Ogden)
Death of the Crow, 1965
Benny Andrews, Death of the Crow, 1965, oil and collage (Ogden)
Dottie, 1981
Benny Andrews, Dottie, 1981, oil and collage (Ogden)
Eudora, 1978
Benny Andrews, Eudora, 1978, oil and collage (Ogden)
Mannerisms, 1961
Benny Andrews, Mannerisms, 1962, oil and collage (Ogden)
Mother Death, 1992
Benny Andrews, Mother Death, 1992, oil and collage (Ogden)
Plower, 1989
Benny Andrews, 1989, Plower, oil and collage (Ogden)
Benny Andrews (title and date unknown), oil and collage (Ogden)
Painted by either George or Benny Andrews (title and date unknown) (Ogden)
The Old Punkey Patch
George Andrews, The Old Punkey Patch, date unknown, oil on canvas board (Ogden)
Portrait of Benny Andrews, 1976
John Hardy, Portrait of Benny Andrews, 1976, oil on canvas (Ogden)
Acolytes, 1935
Caroline Durieux (1896-1989), Acolytes, 1935 (Ogden)
Abstraction of Chair and Mirror, 1943.
Hans Hofmann, Abstraction of Chair and Mirror, 1943, oil on canvas (NOMA)
Asleep at the Table, 1945
Robert Gwathmey, Asleep at the Table, 1945, oil on Canvas (Ogden)
Dogwood Display II, 1972
Alma Thomas, Dogwood Display II, 1972, acrylic on canvas. Alma is one of my favorites and her painting Starry Nights and the Astronauts is featured in the Chicago Institute of Art article. (NOMA)
Breath, 1959
Lee Krasner, Breath, 1959, oil on Canvas. Lee, a fine artist in her own right, was married to Jackson Pollock from 1945-1956. (NOMA)
Eating Cake
Shawne Major, Eating Cake, Quilt detail (Ogden)
Far Away Thought, 1892
John William Godward, Far Away Thoughts, 1892, oil on canvas (NOMA)
French Bouquet of China Asters and Sunflowers in Vase, c. 1887
Gustavo Caillebotte, French Bouquet of China Asters and Sunflowers in Vase, c. 1887, oil on canvas (NOMA)
French Landscape at L'Estaque, 1906
Georges Braque, French Landscape at L’ Estaque, 1906, oil on canvas, 20 x 23 1/4 in. (NOMA)
Gild the Lily (Decadence Upon Decadence IX), 2018
Carlos Rolon, Gild the Lily: Decadence Upon Decadence, oil, ink and 24-karat gold leaf on canvas (NOMA)
in the Garden, Giverny
Frederick Frieseke (1900-1995), In the Garden, Giverny, oil on canvas
Panarama  of baptism on Cane River, 1945
Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), Panarama of Baptistm on Cane River, oil on window shade,  36″x67″ inches (Ogden)
Persons in the presence of metamorphosis, 1963
Joan Miro, Persons in the Presence of Metamorphosis, 1963, egg tempura on masonite, 19 3/4 x 22 5/8 inches (NOMA)
Portait of a Young Girl, 1935
Joan Miro, Portrait of a Young Girl, 1935, oil with sand on canvas, 41 3/8 x 29 3/8 inches; 49 x 37 inches (framed) (NOMA)
The Red Disk, 1960
Joan Miro, The Red Disk, 1960, oil on canvas (NOMA)
Portrait of a Young Woman in Profile, c. 1895.
Giovanni Boldini, Portrait of a Young Woman in Profile, c. 1895, oil on canvas (NOMA). The blurred brushstrokes and aqua accents in the lower left quadrant caught my eye and drew me to this large painting. 
Portrait of a Young Woman, 1918
Amadeus Modigliani, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1918, oil on canvas. 24 x 18 inches; 33 x 27 x 3 inches (framed with acrylic glass) (NOMA). Modigliani is one of my all-time favorites!!
Salmon Rose, 1966
Wayne Thiebaud, Salmon Rose, 1966 (NOMA)
Steamer New York, Steaming Upriver, 1989.
Michael Frolich, Steamer New York, STeaming Upriver, 1989, oil on masonite (Ogden)
Untitled c. 1978-1986
Eddy Mumma, Untitled c. 1978-1986, oil on board (Ogden)
Struggling Tiger in Hard Times, 1991
Thornton Dial (1928-2016), Struggling Tiger in Hard Times, 1991, oil, tin, carpet and industrial sealing compound on canvas mounted on wood.
Woman on Porch, 1958
Richard Diebenkorn, Woman on Porch, 1958, oil on canvas, 72 x 72 inches (NOMA)
Scrap House,
I ran across this art installation on the street, not in a museum. Artist Sally Heller, Scrap House. One of 20 “Art in Public Places” commissioned by the Art Council of New Orleans. An homage to Hurricane Katrina’s damage.
Artist Aaron Reed
Saw this artist, Aaron Reed from Albany, Georgia, at his booth at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. 



  1. Thank you for sharing this stunning art I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to see. I had a Modigliani print in my Los Angles apartment years ago. The Portrait of a Young Woman reminded me of it. I suspect it is the same woman – different work. Your eye for visual art has opened my eyes.


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Cindi Brown


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