NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —There’s an exhibition at the Louisiana State Museum that showcases Creole life and gives visitors a unique challenge.
“The Louisiana State Museum has a very long history with the artist. At a fairly young age, Andrew Lamar Hopkins started working at the 1850 House Gift Shop and Museum, where he was exposed to much of the decorative arts and paintings in the Louisiana State Museum’s collection,” says Susan Maclay, the Interim Director of the Louisiana State Museum.
The name of Andrew Lamar Hopkins‘ exhibition is “Creole New Orleans, Honey!” It’s an exhibit that focuses mainly on creole life in the 19th century, from the architecture, kitchen life, funeral procedures, to the creole people themselves.
The exhibition is also chance for a keen eye to spot real historic pieces that may be depicted inside visually thought-provoking and stunning artwork.
“A very fascinating aspect of this artist, is that he takes classical art and portraits from earlier periods and reproduces them in miniature in his paintings or reimagines them, for example Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus has been reimagined as the Creole Birth of Venus,” says Maclay.
Each piece of art has a greater charm behind it. It also allows Hopkins to share his love of history, artwork and art-dealing with everyone who visits. There’s a famous reproduction of a painting that appears to be Marie Laveau.
“This is a painting that was painted in 1915 by a museum employee named Frank Schneider. It is based on an original painting from the 19th century. We don’t know who the artist was. We also don’t know for sure if this was meant to be Marie Laveau. The myth and legend indicates this is Marie Laveau. This painting was loaned to the museum in the early 20th century. The owners took it back and it disappeared for quite a while. For over 100 years, we didn’t know where it went and what happened to it and all we had was this reproduction of the original painting, which was heavily requested. Anytime someone wanted a depiction of Marie Laveau, they would come to the State Museum and ask for this image. After about 100 years, after it disappeared, the original turned back up at auction. It was purchased by the Virginia Museum of Art for nearly a million dollars,” explains Maclay.
Andrew Hopkins recreated the living room of the late naturalist and artist, John James Audubon. There’s a campeche chair from the State Museum’s collection. Also, two of Audubon’s paintings tell a deeper story.
“At the time Audubon was not well off and so there was a theory that he probably had to purchase secondhand furniture, which was a number of year older than the actual period. Audubon also decorated his home with his own art,” says Maclay.
The exhibition is a feast for the eyes and a bit of an interactive and rewarding game of history from the mind and talent of someone who is a scholar of history and artwork himself.
To experience “Creole New Orleans, Honey!,” all one needs to do is take a field trip to the Cabildo. The exhibition will be up until September of 2023.