The Orléans Collection

On view October 26, 2018, through January 27, 2019

At its founding in 1718, New Orleans was named for the French Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1674–1723). A formidable personality, Philippe II’s legacy is his patronage of the arts: architecture, painting, furniture, music, dance, and theatre. In celebration of the tricentennial of the city that bears his regal title, NOMA will present an exhibition of selections from the Duke’s magnificent collection. This international loan exhibition will bring together masterpieces by Veronese, Valentin, Poussin, Rubens, and Rembrandt that formerly graced the walls of the Palais Royal in Paris.

The quality of the Orléans Collection was universally praised during Philippe II’s lifetime and its stature is attested by the astounding 772 paintings inventoried at his death. Although originally bequeathed to the duke’s heirs, in the 1790s the family hastily sold the collection to raise money during the French Revolution. The subsequent sales became a watershed event in the history of collecting and museology. The exhibition and its accompanying scholarly catalogue will explore exceptional aspects of the collection through four guiding themes: the Palais Royal and its grand redecoration as a center for the arts and exchange in Paris; the diplomatic and personal display of the collection in public and private spaces; the Duke of Orléans’ personal taste and psychology as a collector; and the fame and impact the collection had for contemporary visitors, artists, and collectors in Paris.

No exhibition of this fascinating subject has been undertaken and this project offers an exceptional opportunity for new scholarship, with a catalogue structured to maximize scholarly research and publish new research about Philippe II’s collection. The catalogue by Vanessa I. Schmid, NOMA’s Senior Curator of European Art, and nine contributors, presents for the first time in over a century a comprehensive analysis of this extraordinary collection.

NOTE: An exhibition fee of $8 is required to view The Orléans Collection. NOMA members receive free admission year-round.

View an informational guide to The Orléans Collection, published by Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative news weekly.


Press Release

NOMA reunites masterpieces from the Duke of Orléans Collection

In celebration of the city of New Orleans’ Tricentennial in 2018, the New Orleans Museum of Art will present The Orleans Collection, an exhibition of selections from the magnificent collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1689-1723). Universally praised during his lifetime, the exceptional collection was comprised of some of the most important works in the history of art. Read More

By The Numbers

The Orléans Collection: By the numbers

The Duke of Orléans amassed more than 700 paintings in his lifetime. NOMA will display nearly 40. Learn more about the collecting habits of Philippe II and the disperal of his collection. Read More


Schedule of Events

Lectures, tours, music, film, a scholarly symposium, and French food will be the focus of programs that complement The Orléans Collection. Read More


The Orléans Collection is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is sponsored by the City of New Orleans; New Orleans & Company; Samuel H. Kress Foundation; Hyatt Regency New Orleans and 1718 Events; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc.; Zemurray Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. John Bertuzzi; Catherine Burns Tremaine; 2018 NOLA Foundation; Delta Airlines; Pelham Communications; Jean and Buddy Bolton; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Canizaro; Susie and Michael McLoughlin; Sally E. Richards; and Mr. and Mrs. Robert John Axtell Williams. Additional support provided by French Heritage Society; Dr. Edward Levy, Jr.; E. Alexandra Stafford and Raymond M. Rathle, Jr.; Jason P. Waguespack; Suzie and Pierre G. Villere; Robert and Millie Kohn; Wayne Amedee; Honorable Steven R. Bordner; Nell Nolan and Robert E. Young; and Charles L. Whited, Jr.


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.