Saturday, March 21, 2015

Colorful Creoles, The lifestyle & legacy of New Orleans Free people of color. Part 2 the paintings in the collection

"Basile Crokere fencing master, AKA Cameo man" available. At a young age when I was first learning about New Orleans Free people of color none fascinated me more then Basile Crokere, also know as the "Cameo man" because of his love of carved cameos. Basile Raphael Crocker was a New Orleans free man of color. Basile owned a small plantation on the right side of Bayou road in 1835. H was a early real estate developer in Treme. He bought and built houses on the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Ursulines street. 

He was a fencing master and had a fencing school on Bayou Road, near Claiborne. His school Salle dArmes was always crowded with students. The Creole gentry did not scruple to cross swords with him in private assaults. Crokere was said to be one of the handsomest men of New Orleans. With dignity he walked down the street in his green broadcloth suit with spotless linen and the widest of black stocks around his neck. 

He was famous for his collection of carved cameos. He wore cameo rings, breast pins and even a cameo bracelet. Basile was also a skilled mathematician and a craftsman of some reputation. As a carpenter he became one of the most skilled builders of staircases in New Orleans. Only one other man was his equal in this trade, his friend Noel J. Bacchus. Crokere was 79 at his death in 1879 and was survived by his wife Antoinette Hazeur.

"Mother Henriette DeLille" SOLD.The Venerable Henriette DeLille (1813–1862) founded the Catholic order of the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans, which was composed of free women of color. The order provided nursing care and a home for orphans, later establishing schools as well.
Trained by her mother in French literature, music, dancing, and nursing, Henriette was groomed to take her place in the plaçage system as the common-law wife of a wealthy white man. As a young woman, under the watchful eye of her mother, she attended many quadroon balls, a chief element of their social world.

Henriette was drawn instead to a strong religious belief in the teaching of the Catholic Church, and resisted the life her mother suggested. She became an outspoken opponent of the system of plaçage, on the grounds that it represented a violation of the Catholic sacrament of marriage.
In 1835, Henriette's mother suffered a nervous breakdown. Later that year, the court declared her incompetent, and granted Henriette control of her assets. After providing for her mother's care, Henriette sold all her remaining property. In 1836 she used the proceeds to found a small unrecognized congregation or order of nuns, the Sisters of the Presentation. The original members consisted of Henriette, seven young Créole women, and a young French woman.

"Marie Laveau & de Glapion" SOLD. Marie Catherine Laveau was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo renowned in New Orleans. The most famous New Orleans Free woman of color was Marie Laveau. Marie Catherine Laveau was born in New Orleans on September 10, 1801. She was the natural daughter of two free persons of color, both mulattos. She was a free woman of color and a Creole. She was married to Jacques Paris in 1819 at the St. Louis Cathedral with the famed Père Antoine officiating. She had two children, both of whom appear to have died before reaching maturity. With a few years, her husband apparently also died she began calling herself the Widow Paris, a name that survived onto her tomb.

Around the mid 1820’s she began a plaçage with Louis Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion a white man of noble French descent, with who she bore seven more children. (The plaçage system afforded interracial couples a marriage of conscience, if not legality). Of these seven children, only two lived to maturity. By 1842 Marie Laveau & de Glapion was living at the Creole cottage on St. Ann Street where she lived for the rest of her life. This property, and the cottage on, came to her by way of her maternal grandmother, Catherine Henry, a former slave who managed to purchase her own freedom (1795) as well as the St. Ann property (1798).

"Creole Decadence" SOLD is a ongoing series of paintings I have done of three open windows on colorful stucco buildings, Showing people that make up the Creole world. New Orleans is often hailed for its distinctive Creole heritage—evident in its food, architecture, and people—but it is far from alone. Its Creoleness may be unique to the United States, but New Orleans is part of an entire family of Latin Caribbean & South American cities with similar colonial histories. Founded as New World outposts of Old World empires, these cities forged new identities from their European, West African, and indigenous influences—by turns inspired by, in defiance of, and adapted from all of them.

"Free family of color" SOLD shows a Louisiana free family of color that has moved to a surrounding state due to new law's on Free people of color during the American Antebellum period of Louisiana 1803-1860. Louisiana's "golden age" of free people of color fell into decline around 1830, the beginning of an era of particularly harsh legislation regarding African Americans, both slave and free. Masters wishing to free their slaves had to post a $1,000 bond guaranteeing that freed slaves would leave the state within thirty days; and all blacks were prohibited from testifying against whites in court. In 1855, free people of color were banned from assembling or forming any new organizations or societies. The emancipation of slaves was outlawed entirely in 1857, and, as during the territorial period, free persons of color were required to carry passes, observe curfews, and have their racial status designated in all public records.

Other factors also played a part in free blacks leaving Louisiana. An influx of Irish and German immigrants, who displaced free black tradesmen and were willing to work at unskilled jobs for low wages, began in the 1830's. The Panic of 1837 severely affected the state and pressured some wealthy blacks to sell property. Due to multiple factors, Louisiana's free black population shrank over the next twenty years. Many left to seek a better life in the North, France, Haiti, and Latin America. Some, no doubt, were able to "pass" as white, and so no longer were counted among free people of color. Others still were resettled in Africa and Mexico by colonization societies. On the eve of the Civil War, free people of color represented just 2.6 percent of the population of Louisiana, a decline from 7.7 percent in 1830.

"Julien Hudson Free man of color artist" SOLD. Julien Hudson was born on January 9, 1811, in New Orleans. His father, John T. Hudson, was a white British ship chandler and ironmonger. His mother, Suzanne Desiree Marcos, was a free New Orleans quadroon (of Caucasian and African origins). Before studying painting, Julien Hudson briefly was a tailor’s apprentice in the mid-1820's. 

He then studied with Antoine Meucci, an itinerant miniaturist painter, between 1826 and 1827. Hudson’s learning then continued in Paris with well-known artist Alexandre Abel de Pujol (after 1827). After returning to New Orleans, Hudson opened his own studio on Bienville Street in 1831. During this time, many free men of color became professional artists, musicians or writers. Julien Hudson died in 1844 in New Orleans.

"Victor Séjour Creole playwright & poet"available. Victor Séjour was a playwright born in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 2, 1817. His parents were Louis Victor Séjour Marou, a free colored man from Saint-Domingue (Haiti), and Héloise Philippe Ferrand, a Creole quadroon from New Orleans. His parents were wealthy, and had him educated in a private school in New Orleans. At the age of nineteen he moved to Paris to continue his education and find work. 

There he met members of the Parisian literary elite, including Cyrille Bisette, publisher of the black-owned journal La Revue des Colonies. Bisette published "Le Mulâtre", ("The Mulatto") is the earliest known work of fiction by an person of color author. Séjour's first work, in 1837. The story of a loyal slave exacting revenge on his cruel master/father for the death of his wife, "Le Mulâtre" contains an indictment of New World slavery that is found in none of Séjour's subsequent work. 

In 1845, "Victor Séjour met up with a group of sixteen free men of color in Paris, France and published Les Cenelles, a collection of eighty-five poems, the first anthology of poetry by people of color ever published. Edited by a prominent free man of color, Armand Lanusse, the small volume--very rare today--included verses by poets such as Camille Thierry, Victor Sejour, Pierre Dalcour, Mirtil Ferdinand Liotau, and Joanni Questi.

"Louisiana Tea time" SOLD A painting started over 7 years ago and just recently completed. Shows the interior of a elegant Louisiana Salon. The lady of the house is seated next to a cabriole leg table ready to have afternoon tea. The Creole servant holding a tray of dessert cake is a Free woman of color. Slaves were very expensive to buy, house, feed and take care of. In the 19th century to hire a servant to come and work for you was much cheaper then buying and owning a slave. 

Some Free woman of color hired themselves out as servants, cooks and house keepers. The Creole architecture dates from the 1790's but the scene is from the 1840's. The room has a mixture of of late 18th century Creole furniture like the armoire and latter-back chair next to the armoire. The cabriole leg table in front of the fire place is also a Local Creole made piece inspired from French furniture of the Louis XV style. The newest piece of Creole furniture is the 1830's gondola chair in front of the sofa. The rest of the furniture is mix and more up to date with the 1830's and 40's fashion. 

Like the American Empire sofa and center table with black marble. The chair in front of the fireplace is French 1840's Troubadour style. The artwork in the room starting with the print over the armoire is a Audubon of a pink flamingo. Audubon worked and lived in New Orleans and Louisiana from the 1820's and 1830's. Next to the mantel are two camellia prints and a portrait of fashion-forward Edmond Jean Forstall and Desirée Forstall by Jean Joseph Vaudechamp, 1836. Vaudechamp a French artist working in New Orleans & painting Louisiana Creoles during the 1830's.

"Jules Lion New Orleans first photographer" SOLD. Was a Free man of color born in Paris, France. He moved to New Orleans in the 1830's. He was the first Creole African-American photographer, opening a daguerrotype studio in New Orleans in 1840, one year after the invention of the process in 1839 in France. Lion also was a artist, he painted, and made a series of lithographs of prominent Louisianans and people connected to Louisiana history, including John James Audubon and Andrew Jackson.

Jules Lion was the first person to photographed majestic views of New Orleans. After proving his level of work by photographing landmarks in New Orleans, the prize-winning photographer was in demand by notables such as President Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren for his work. The New Orleans Bee, a local bilingual newspaper, hired Lion to take pictures for the publication that were turned into engravings. Both he and his brother (who were of mixed heritage) found success in Louisiana. His brother, Achille, was a dentist and both used their money to invest in real estate and retail goods.

"Free man of color architect" SOLD. Free people of color played an important role in the history of New Orleans and the southern area of La Louisiane. Many were artisans who owned property and their own businesses such as being a architect. Many homes in the French Quarter and surrounding areas of Louisiana were designed and built by Free man of color architect's and builders. This painting depicts a Free man of color architect standing in front of a French Colonial style house with high pitched roof. Creole homes like this could be seen at one time in the Faubourg's outside of the French Quarter.

"Creole World" available, is a ongoing series of paintings I have done of three open windows on colorful stucco buildings, Showing people that make up the Creole world. New Orleans is often hailed for its distinctive Creole heritage—evident in its food, architecture, and people—but it is far from alone. Its Creoleness may be unique to the United States, but New Orleans is part of an entire family of Latin Caribbean & South American cities with similar colonial histories. Founded as New World outposts of Old World empires, these cities forged new identities from their European, West African, and indigenous influences—by turns inspired by, in defiance of, and adapted from all of them.

"New Orleans Free man of color" SOLD

"New Orleans wash day & red beans and rice" SOLD. And is centered around making the famous New Orleans dish as well as washing cloths.
"New Orleans wash day & red beans and rice". Traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables (bell pepper, onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf) and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly Andouille), and Tasso ham are also frequently used in the dish.
The dish is customary - ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Washing once a week on Monday or "washday" became the established norm in New Orleans. the walls of the Creole Kitchen are painted green. Green was the most expensive paint in the 18th and first half of the 19th century because it was made out of arsenic & vertigris scraped from copper. You need a lot of vertigris dust to make paint. The arsenic was a bug & insect repellent for kitchens.

As well as the wire mousetrap under the 18th century Louisiana cabriole leg table to the right of the door opening. On each side of the early Louisiana armoire are olive jars imported from the South of France with olive oil. Once in Louisiana olive jars served as Louisiana's first refrigerators for food storage. The olive jar to the right of the armoire is buried in the ground. The dampness of the ground would soak into the unglazed exterior of the jar. The interior of the jar was glazed so moisture did not penetrate the jar but kelp the inside at a cool temperature. Sometimes ice imported from Canada was also used inside but ice was very costly in the Antebellum South. Over the fireplace we have a copy of the French Master artist Ingres: Le Christ bénissant, 1834.

"Creole Apothecary"SOLD show the inside of a 18th century New Orleans Apothecary. On the left hand side of the painting a fashionably dressed Free man of color apprentice crushes herbs in a Mortar with a Pestle on a Louisiana French styled cabriole leg table a preparation table where the medicine was mixed on prescription. In the center of the painting a elegantly dressed Lady stands at the counter as a young assistant gazes off behind the counter. 

To the right of the painting we see the Apothecarist hands a bill to a Gentleman as his sick Creole Free lady of color gaze off with a sick expression holding her fan. In the center of the shelves is a carved wood Louis XVI frame with cobalt background with gilt letters "Apothecary La Nouvelle-Orléans". Under the frame a Neoclassical wrought iron safe door holds valuables related to the Apothecary trade under lock and key. In the center of the wrought iron is a caduceus. It is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The Caduceus as a symbol of medicine where it was sometimes associated with alchemy and wisdom. 

Under the wrought iron safe door is a faïence blue decorated water cistern and green glasses. On ether end of the counter are a pair of Louis XVI style Argand lamps. In the center of the shelves is a taxidermy alligator and lizard bringing in the exotic. The shelves are lined with faïence blue decorated tin-glazed pottery Pharmacy jars as well as glass jars. On the upper shelves are French 17th century pendent portraits of Christ and the Virgin Mary in ornate gold gilt frames with altar urns with carved gilded flowers on each side of the portraits.

"Creole praline seller " SOLD 

"Femme de la plantation" in the collection of the artist. 

"Champs-Élysées Creole Cottage" SOLD. Did you know that New Orleans had a Avenue called Champs-Élysées by the Creole's. Named after the famous Avenue in Paris. New Orleans has been known as the Paris in the Swamp since the 18th century. Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville christened the main thoroughfare in Faubourg Marigny to his plantation house, Champs-Élysées or in English Elysian Fields after Virgil's "Deathless Residence of the Spirits of the Blessed." 

The place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville subdivided his plantation next to the French Quarter. The neighborhood is called Faubourg Marigny. He was also known to only sell lot's to French speaking people including the Free people of color, who bought lot's and built many Creole cottages that still stand in the Marigny today. This early 19th century Creole brick between post construction Creole Cottage is still standing and is being restored. I used it in my painting "Champs-Élysées Creole Cottage"

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