64 Parishes

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Newton Howard

The architect of Monkey Hill was also a painter of the Sportsman’s Paradise

Published: December 3, 2018
Last Updated: March 1, 2019

Newton Howard

Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Walter D. Cockerham

Untitled (Newton’s Duck Pond) by Newton Howard, 1980.

Newton Reeve Howard (1912–1984) was a New Orleans painter known for his serene landscapes of the marshes and bayous of South Louisiana. An avid duck hunter, fisherman, and naturalist, Howard’s paintings evoke the calm solitude he found during countless hours of paddling through the marshes near Lafitte, Avery Island, and in many other swampy settings of the region. 

Often recognized by New Orleans residents as the architect of Monkey Hill, a beloved city landmark located in the Audubon Zoo, Howard graduated from the Tulane School of Architecture and was subsequently employed by the Federal Works Progress Administration to oversee improvements to the zoo during the Depression.  

After having difficulty finding work as an architect, Howard decided to embrace his lifelong love of painting and drawing and went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. When he returned to New Orleans, he joined Fitzgerald Advertising, where he served as the agency’s art director and designed regional and national campaigns for companies including Brown’s Dairy and Tabasco. 

Described by those who knew him as a stoic gentleman who captivated many with a quiet charm and intellect, Newton Howard preferred his pirogue and the swamp over the social scene. He spent much of his spare time hunting and fishing—and was never without a case of Dixie Beer.  

From these bayou excursions, Howard painted countless oil, acrylic, and watercolor works, often in a minimalist style, which emphasized where the bayou waters met the horizon, broken only by a slow-moving shrimp trawler or the flutter of pintails taking off over the marsh. This exhibition will bring to view a portion of these works, from both private collections and institutions, and will portray the cherished locales within the Louisiana coastal marshes and waterways where Newton Howard felt most at home.  

On view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art through January 13, 2019.