Friday, April 27, 2018

Jazz Fest and James Gallier Gates

For today's opening of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, we thought we would share some of our Sylvester Labrot, Jr. Collection drawings for entrance gates by New Orleans 19th century father-son architects, James Gallier, Sr. and Jr. The drawing above is the entrance for the current New Orleans Fairgrounds, the site of Jazz Fest. The undated, ca. 1850 ink on paper drawing, was originally built for the former Race Track.

Entrance gates and administration buildings, Charity Hospital, Common Street, New Orleans. Undated.
Ink and watercolor on paper. Signed by James Gallier, Jr.

Gates for Bank of Louisiana (now sub-station, New Orleans Police Department), Royal and Conti Streets, New Orleans. Undated. Ink and watercolor on paper.

Unidentified Gothic style gatehouse. Location unknown. Undated. Pencil on drawing paper.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Manuscript Society and Fresh from the Conservator

Bronze relief tomb decoration from
Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite  Co. 1910s.
This morning we welcomed the Manuscript Society, who are in town for their annual meeting, to SEAA to talk to them about our holdings and history. We brought out four watercolor presentation proposals from 1920 for the Joseph Vaccaro tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, by the Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company. The drawings were just returned from the conservator by Howard-Tilton Library's conservation librarian, Sabrena Johnson. Done in a large-scale on acidic cardboard-like illustration board, the drawings were brittle, missing portions, cracked and broken, and had darkened from the board's acidity. Sabrena had the conservator, Bridget Broadley of New Orleans, deacidify, repair cracks, replace missing portions, and wash the drawings to remove much of the darkening, and make them strong enough to hang in future exhibits. 

We also brought out other items from our Weiblen records, including bronze tomb reliefs, plaster models, which were used to give potential clients an idea of scale and design, photographs, art glass samples, and an enameled metal sign used to identify newly constructed Weiblen tombs from the 1920s.

The four watercolor drawings were presented to client Joseph Vaccaro, but apparently rejected by him, as the photos of the as-built tomb show a different design. Drawings for the built design were not included with the company's records when they were given to Tulane by Stewart Enterprises, Inc., who purchased the Weiblen company and its office contents in 1969. Joseph Vaccaro, along with his brothers Luca and Felix, and Salvatore D'Antoni, formed the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century. The company eventually became Dole Fruit.

Top: Weiblen stone cutters and plant employees, 1931. Bottom: Weiblen office staff, including John Weiblen, son of Albert, 4th from left, 1931.

Top photo: Weiblen offices and showroom, City Park Avenue, New Orleans, December 1940.
Caryatids designed by A. Goddard flanking entrance were from the demolished 1883
New Orleans Cotton Exchange building at Carondelet and Gravier Streets.
Bottom: Enameled metal sign used by Weiblen for newly completed tombs. 1920s.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Empire Exhibition at Newcomb Art Museum

SEAA has loaned several items for Newcomb Art Museum's EMPIRE exhibition, opening Friday April 13 with a talk with guest curators, David Burns and Austin Young, of Fallen Fruit at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception from 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm. On Saturday April 14, SEAA will participate in "roving archivist" tours as part of the Fruit for All event from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Other participating departments and collections include Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University Archives, Latin American Library, Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, Middle American Research Institute, Newcomb Art Museum, Newcomb College Institute Archives, and the Amistad Research Center.

Items from SEAA include plaster scale models and watercolor renderings for tombs in Metairie Cemetery; building artifacts of wood, stone, plaster, and ironwork, including a railing from Belle Grove Plantation, a grained cypress door from Armitage Plantation, a hammered iron weather vane from Angelina Plantation, and a bored cypress log that was part of an early New Orleans water main; models of Tomy Lafon Elementary School, Lulu White's Mahogany Hall, and the Ninth Ward Victory Arch; photographs by C. Milo Williams of family life in late-19th century Carrollton section of New Orleans contrasted to mid-20th century images by Frank Lotz Miller of families in modernist Curtis and Davis houses; photographs of slave cabins of Laurel Valley Plantation by Philip M. Denman; watercolor renderings of recently removed Confederate memorials; and a rendition of the following early 19th century French hand-blocked wallpaper remnant from de la Ronde Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish. We hope to see you at the EMPIRE opening tomorrow night! And if you'd like to see how much information archivists can remember without a cheat sheet, please join us again on Saturday for tours of the exhibit at Fruit for All.

Printmaking Class Talk and Buck Tomb

We recently spoke to Tulane Professor Pippin Frisbie-Calder's printmaking class. We were asked to show the students ou...