Sunday, February 20, 2011

The interesting story of a Free woman of color portrait

Self portrait as a 19th century Free woman of color circa 2000-2001

To my surprise I receive a email on Valentine's day

Hello Mr Hopkins. My name is Martin Hartzold. I live in New Orleans, LA and have a story I thought you'd like to hear. I am a book dealer by trade. But, in my travels in and around the city, looking for books of value at all sorts of places: thrift stores, estate sales, etc...I have taken to collecting works of art I find along the way. I purchased a portrait painting of yours about 1.5 years ago, at an Uptown New Orleans estate sale. I loved it immediately upon seeing it and had it on the wall of my living room for quite a while.

My girlfriend is a local attorney who also is on the board of directors of the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU. Saturday evening (12 February) they held a fund-raising gala at which they honored Leah Chase (of Dooky Chase's restaurant fame) for her life's work in promoting civil rights. To help raise money at the gala, they held a silent auction and I decided to donate the painting of yours to the sale. I did love it dearly, but the entire theme of the room had changed over the last year or so and it was sort of off to the side, by itself all lonesome like. I figured it could use a new home and the ACLU could use the money. It sold for more money than anything else offered in the auction ($500) and was purchased by one of Ms. Chase's sons. I'm not sure if you are familiar w/the family or their restaurant, here in New Orleans. But, they are serious art collectors. The interior of the place has a collection of African-American art that would rival any museum's.

I hope getting your work out like that may help to spur more interest in it, here in New Orleans and I hope this is a story you've enjoyed reading.

-Martin Hartzold

Dear Martin Hartzold

What a wonderful surprise to receive you email today. When one is a living artist one often wonders what happens to artwork after it is sold. As I began reading your email I assumed that the painting would be one of my small Creole miniature painting. I was greatly surprised to find that the portrait was a self portrait of myself painted as a New Orleans free-woman-of-color. The painting was never finished as I would work on it, put it away and pull it out and work on it again.

I'm happy to know you loved the painting at first sight and then donated it to a great cause! I'm very familiar with Dooky Chase restaurant as I can not count how many times I have had great meals there. Plus Leah Chase the owner of Dooky Chase bought one of my painting of famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau that she kelp in her office. This was before Hurricane Katrina. I'm so happy to know that the painting sold for more then all items in the auction. And I'm more then happy to know that Leah Chase's son bought the painting. I would assume it would be Edgar L. Chase III he was on the board of the New Orleans Museum of Art I don't know if he still is.

Thanks so much for contacting me as I enjoyed reading this festinating story of the painting. How did you find my email?


Andrew LaMar Hopkins

"Marie Leveau Voodoo Queen" sold to  Leah Chase the owner of Dooky Chase