|THE BATON ROUGE ART LEAGUE COLLECTION
The Baton Rouge Art League Collection Exhibition
The value of visual art for the community, and public recognition of that value, has been the purpose of the Baton Rouge Art League since its founding in 1934. It was the first organization to insist on the importance of making art available for the general public, and it has played a major role in the development of art programs in Baton Rouge and throughout the state.
Among its major accomplishments was the development of a permanent collection and the care and preservation of a major collection of WPA art. This combined collection has been preserved and is cared for at the State Archives where it is displayed on a rotating basis so that some of the pieces can always be seen in the lobby and other public areas at the facility on Essen Lane.
The Louisiana State Archives is pleased to present an exhibition of the permanent collection in the Louisiana Room during June 2005. Click here for photo previews of the exhibition.
The WPA Collection
The WPA collection was acquired from the federal government for the city of Baton Rouge in 1937 through the efforts of city officials, and includes works done by artist living in Louisiana during the Depression years when the art program was carried out.
The paintings depict the structures, people, occupations and landscape of Louisiana during the period and are of immense historical value as well as being of great artistic interest. Graphic artist Caroline Durieux, LSU professor emeritus, was at one time supervisor of the Louisiana WPA art program, and artists represented in the collection include Bernard Shardt, Hebert Water, Harold Pierce, Alice Fowler, Reinike, McCrady, Herbert Frere, George Post, Bill Perkins, Lynette Prochaska, Edwin Schoenberger, Myron Lecky, Millet and Lalla Lewis, as well as artist otherwise unknown today.
The Original Collection
The Art League's group of paintings is the result of the original effort of the group to provide public art for the people of Louisiana. It now consists of 48 works in a variety of media, and 25 Louisiana artists are represented. Among the more well known artists on the list are John McCrady, Clarence Millet, Charles Reinike, Paul Dufour, Rolland Golden, Bill Stracener, Ellsworth Woodward, Henrietta Joseph, Burney Myrick, Durieux, and Robert Rucker.
The Art League deserves a community vote of thanks for its early and continued efforts on behalf of the Louisiana art scene, and particularly for its care and conservation of Louisiana art from the early 1930's to the present. Protection of the historic WPA collection has saved a valued part of Louisiana's heritage from a difficult period in history.
Click here to view selected pictures from the collection.