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Marie Seebold

Marie Seebold knew as a child that she wanted to be an artist and began her formal art studies at the age of eleven.

Marie Seebold

Courtesy of Haynie Family Collection

Wisteria. Seebold, Marie (artist)

Marie Madeleine Seebold Molinary knew as a child that she wanted to be an artist. With the support and encouragement of her father, who was the owner of a prestigious art gallery in New Orleans, she began formal art studies at the age of eleven. She was known particularly for her still lifes, but she also produced portraits, genre paintings, and landscapes. She also learned painting restoration and enjoyed design work. The esteem in which she was held during her lifetime is evident by her acceptance as the second woman member of the Artists’ Association of New Orleans. (The organization changed its name to the Art Association of New Orleans when it merged with the Arts Exhibition Club in 1903.)

Education and Influences

Seebold was born on August 13, 1866, into a family that valued artists. Most of its members supported and collected art, and several were painters themselves. Her father, Frederic William Seebold, who was prominent in the art world following the Civil War, held weekly salons for writers, musicians, painters, and other distinguished persons. Among the guests were such celebrities as Mark Twain, Jefferson Davis, and George Washington Cable.

In 1877 Seebold began to study with George David Coulon and Paul Poincy in New Orleans, and later with William Chase in New York City, at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. From Andres Molinary she learned the art of restoration, which she employed to repair old paintings in the museums and homes of New Orleans. Seebold carried on a long relationship with her mentor, marrying Molinary in 1915 shortly before his death.

The Work

Seebold’s artistic bent was expressed in a number of different ways. First and foremost she was a painter, known especially for her depictions of fruits and flowers. But she was not limited to still lifes. In addition to portraits, landscapes, and scenes of human activity, she sometimes turned to maritime subjects such as boats.

Seebold began to exhibit her work as early as 1881, when her paintings were displayed at the Atlanta Exposition and from 1885 to 1886 at the North, Central and South American Exposition held in New Orleans. Her works repeatedly appeared in shows sponsored by the Artists’ Association of New Orleans and at Tulane University. By 1889 her reputation had spread to more far-flung venues such as the Cotton Palace in Waco, Texas in 1889; the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois; and the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897 in Nashville. In the early twentieth century, her work appeared repeatedly in shows of the Art Association of New Orleans, and in the 1920s her work was exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans.

Seebold was also a graphic designer, and in a digression from her easel work she produced invitations, programs, and backdrops for some of the Carnival organizations in New Orleans. She also taught art classes for a number of years at the Delgado Museum of Art (now the New Orleans Museum of Art) and gave private lessons in her home.

Honors and Memberships

Seebold’s paintings earned a number of prizes. She was awarded ladies’ first prize in the Brownie drawing contest in 1897; first prize in a competition in Waco, Texas, in 1914; and a first prize from the Artists’ Association of New Orleans.

Not only was Marie Seebold the second woman member of the Artists’ Association of New Orleans, she eventually became a member of the board of directors of its successor, the Art Association of New Orleans. She was also a member of the Southern States Art League.

Seebold stopped painting five years before her death on August 19, 1948.