A color reproduction of a self portrait of Knute Heldner, circa 1930s. Heldner was a member of the New Orleans Art League. Learn more »
In December 1927 several professional male members of the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans organized the New Orleans Art League. The League maintained studios, mounted traveling exhibitions, and held the first outdoor exhibitions in the French Quarter. The organization met weekly and held annual exhibitions at the Delgado Museum of Art (now New Orleans Museum of Art).
They maintained their headquarters in the French Quarter at 630 Toulouse Street in the old Governor Claiborne house. The courtyard, with its exterior stairway and large fan window, inspired many artistic renderings and was among the sites frequently visited by artists and tourists. The League maintained studios, mounted traveling exhibitions, and held the first outdoor exhibitions in the French Quarter.
The organization met weekly and held annual exhibitions at the Delgado Museum of Art (now New Orleans Museum of Art). Annually the League selected a member by rotation to present a solo exhibition, or to be the featured artist in the yearly membership exhibition. Prizes were “occasionally awarded for compositions of exceptional merit.” In 1932 Gideon Townsend Stanton was awarded first prize in oil painting. Featured artists include Knute Heldner (1938), W. Branks Stewart (1941), Rev. Leo J. Jarysh (1948), and Guy Livingston Woolley (1954).
Organizers and Charter Members
The organizers of the Art League were Harry Armstrong Nolan (1891-1929), Gideon Townsend Stanton (1885-1964), William Weeks Hall (1895-1958), E. Gerry Peirce (1900-1969), and Henry Costello. Other charter members were George Frederick Castleden (1861-1945), Clarence Millet (1897-1959), Knute Heldner (1877-1954), Conrad Albrizio (1894-1973), Fred McCaleb (20th century), Horace Alexander Russ (b. 1887), James Nolan, E. B. Hardley, George Sicard, and George Clapp.
The club and its art library were open to visiting artists in New Orleans, including Indiana artist Wayman Adams (1883-1959), who was an honorary member from the outset. Many prominent artists exhibited their works in the Art League’s exhibitions, including Alfred Alberts, Wiley S. Churchill (1900-1987), John Clemmer (born 1921), Arthur Sinclair Covey (1877-1960), Boyd Cruise (1909-1988), Joseph Donaldson Jr. (1914-1997), James A. Fisher, Leonard T. Flettrich (1916-1970), Morris Henry Hobbs (1892-1967), Eugene Loving (1908-1971), Sidney J. Kittinger, Adolph Kronengold (1900-1986), Peter Joseph Lawrence Mars (1874-1949), John McCrady (1911-1968), Clarence Millet, Paul Ninas (1903-1964), George E. Pearce, Frederick Polley (1875-1957), Charles H. Reinike (1906-1983), Charles Richards (1906-1992), Albert Rieker (1890-1959), Thomas A. Robertson (1911-1976), Dr. Marion Souchon (1871-1954), Ralph Sowell, Homer E. Turner, (1898-1981) Arnold E. Turtle (1892-1954), and Karl Wolfe (1904-1985).
Members of the League often exhibited their prints at the club’s galleries and at publisher Joseph Shield Wilson Harmanson’s bookshop on 333 Royal Street. As the influence of this group increased, other galleries and art organizations emerged, including the Gresham Gallery, where the League’s members also exhibited. The Reinike Academy of Art was begun under the auspices of the Art League.
Cite This Entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Bonner, Judith H. "New Orleans Art League." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published May 23, 2011. http://www.knowla.org/entry/601/&view=summary.
Bonner, Judith H. "New Orleans Art League." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 23 May 2011. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
Would you like to learn more about this topic from books and other reading materials?
Artists Files, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Federal Writers Project of the W.P.A. New Orleans City Guide. New Orleans, LA: Federal Writers Project of the W.P.A. for the City of New Orleans, 1938.
Frost, Meigs O. “New Art Body Makes Bow With Fine Exhibit.” New Orleans States (December 4. 1927). n.p.