64 Parishes

Finding respite in 64 PARISHES during the COVID-19 crisis? Subscribe today to support our mission and contributors.

New Orleans Art League

In December 1927 several professional male members of the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans organized the New Orleans Art League.

New Orleans Art League

Courtesy of Louisiana State Museum

Knute Heldner - Self portrait. Heldner, Knute (Artist)

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.

Exhibiting Artists

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).

Other Venues

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.