Inventing Acadia: Painting and Place in Louisiana is the first major exhibition featuring Louisiana landscape painting in more than forty years. Exploring the rise of landscape painting in Louisiana during the nineteenth century, Inventing Acadia reveals Louisiana’s role in creating—and exporting—a new vision for American landscape painting that was vastly different from that found in the rest of the United States. The exhibition shows how landscape painters from across the globe came together in Louisiana to form a new school of landscape painting that rivaled all others in the country.

From the early nineteenth century onward, Louisiana’s dense forests and tangled, impenetrable swamplands—branded as Acadie, or Acadia—represented the apotheosis of the American fascination with the untamed wilderness, resulting in landscape paintings that brought American art into conversation with a new type of landscape as well as Louisiana’s complicated political terrain. Painters, poets and writers of the period envisioned Louisiana’s enigmatic natural scenery at once as a paradise shrouded in the “glamour of romance,” and as a place profoundly marked by the forces of history at the time. In 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made Louisiana’s landscape the stuff of myth and legend in his epic poem A Tale of Acadie, calling Louisiana “a country that is not of this world.”


Inventing Acadia: Painting and Place in Louisiana is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is sponsored by Hyatt Regency New Orleans, the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, Bill and Martha Gunther, Robert J.A. and Norris S.L. Williams, Delta Airlines, Neal Auction Company, Sally E. Richards and Amanda Winstead Fine Art. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The accompanying catalog is made possible by Roger Ogden and Ken Barnes. Research for this exhibition was supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

 

Mississippi Panorama

1842–1853

Robert Brammer

Oil on canvas

29 x 36 in.

Collection of Stacy and Jay Underwood

Louisiana Indians Walking Along a Bayou

1847

Alfred W. Boisseau

Oil on canvas

24 x 40 in.

Gift of William E. Groves

A Plantation Burial

1860

John Antrobus

Oil on canvas

52 3/4 x 81 5/19 in.

The Historic New Orleans Collection, The L. Kemper and Leila Moore Williams Founders Collection

A Swamp in the Landes

after 1844

Theodore Rousseau

Oil on panel

16 7/16 x 22 5/16 in.

The Walters Art Museum, 37.991

The Acadians in the Atchafalaya, “Evangeline”

1871

Joseph Rusling Meeker

Oil on canvas

32 1/8 x 42 3/16 in.

A. Augustus Healy Fund, The Brooklyn Museum, 50.118

Life Along a Louisiana Bayou

1877

Everett B. D. Fabrino

Oil on canvas

15 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.

Collection of Roger Houston Ogden

Water Lilies and Spanish Moss

1874

Henry Chapman Ford

Oil on canvas

30 x 48 in.

Collection of Fred and Jennifer Hebee

Spirit of Louisiana

1894

George David Coulon

Oil on canvas

44 x 27 in.

Gift of the Fine Arts Club of New Orleans on the occasion of their 60th anniversary