"Créole Soirée" in a collection in New Orleans, louisiana.
My last 4 paintings have sold within 24 hours after being completed. I finished one of my latest masterpieces over a week ago. It is titled "Créole Soirée" it was finished and sold to a first time local person in New Orleans. The painting shows a nighttime "Créole Soirée" or house party. Two Creoles of color dance in a parlor as a Creole Violinist plays a violin. The scene is from the early 19th century shortly after the American purchase of Louisiana in 1803.
The Catholic Creoles had great love for fun & entertainment like, balls, parties and Soirées, unlike the new Protestant American flooding into the Louisiana territory driven by hard work and money. The room is fashionably furnished with local made Creole furniture like the French style ladder back chair that the Violinist it sitting on and the Cabriole leg table to the right of the mantel the blue and white Chinese export porcelain punch bowl sits on.
English Regency Verre Eglomise Mirror, circa 1800. Verre églomisé, from the French term meaning gilded glass, is a decorative technique in which the backside of glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf.
Early 19th century Creole Cabriole leg table
The rest of the furnishings are luxury goods imported into Louisiana that would have been available during the early 19th century like the East Coast made Cabriole style sofa in the English style. Over the sofa is a English Regency Giltwood Convex Mirror, incorporating a spread-winged eagle, above laurel swags and candlearms; the apron carved with tied ropes and acanthus leaves. and over the Creole mantel is another English Regency Verre Eglomise Mirror, circa 1800. Verre églomisé, from the French term meaning gilded glass, is a decorative technique in which the backside of glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf.
Regency Giltwood Convex Mirror, incorporating a spread-winged eagle, above laurel swags and candlearms; the apron carved with tied ropes and acanthus leaves.
On the mantel is a pair of French NeoClassical Agateware Pottery Urns and in the center of the mantel a Louis XVI ormolu clock. The early 19th century NeoClassical wall to wall carpet is a English Brussels carpet. In North America these carpets were commonly called Ingrain Carpet. During the Regency (in the U.S. the Federal period) Brussels carpets were the height of luxury for all but the wealthiest homeowners. To the right of the mantel is a late 18th century portrait of a Free woman of color. She is wearing a tignon. a type of head covering.
18th century Creole French style ladder back chair
A large piece of material tied or wrapped around the head to form a kind of turban that somewhat resembles the West African Gele. It was worn by Creole women of African descent in Louisiana beginning in the Spanish colonial period, and continuing to a lesser extent to the present day.This headdress was the result of sumptuary laws passed in 1786 under the administration of Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró. Called the tignon laws, they prescribed and enforced appropriate public dress for female gens de couleur in colonial society.
French Louis XVI clock.
At this time in Louisiana history, women of African descent vied with white women in beauty, dress and manners. Many of them had become the placées (openly kept mistresses) of white, French, and Spanish Creole men. This incurred the jealousy and anger of their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and fiancées. One complaint was that white men pursuing flirtations or liaisons sometimes mistook upper-class white women for light-skinned women of African descent and accosted them in an improper manner.
East Coast made Cabriole style sofa in the English style circa 1790-1810.
o prevent this, Governor Miró decreed that women of African descent, slave or free, should cover their hair and heads with a knotted headdress and refrain from "excessive attention to dress" to maintain class distinctions. Historian Virginia M. Gould notes that Miró hoped the law would control women “who had become too light skinned or who dressed too elegantly, or who, in reality, competed too freely with white women for status and thus threatened the social order.” Miró's intent of having the tignon mark inferiority had a somewhat different effect, according to historian Carolyn Long who noted: "Instead of being considered a badge of dishonor, the tignon…became a fashion statement. The bright reds, blues, and yellows of the scarves, and the imaginative wrapping techniques employed by their wearers, are said to have enhanced the beauty of the women of color."
The women who were targets of this decree were inventive and imaginative. They decorated tignons with their jewels and ribbons, and used the finest available materials to wrap their hair. In other words, "[t]hey effectively re-interpreted the law without technically breaking the law"—and they continued to be pursued by men.
When Claiborne the first American Governor of Louisiana made English the official language of the territory, the French Creoles in New Orleans were outraged, and reportedly paraded in protest in the streets. They rejected the Americans' effort to transform them overnight. In addition, upper-class French Creoles thought many of the arriving Americans were uncouth, especially the rough Kentucky boatmen (Kaintucks) who regularly visited the city, having maneuvered flatboats down the Mississippi River filled with goods for market.
Realizing that he needed local support, Claiborne restored French as an official language. In all forms of government, public forums, and in the Catholic Church, French continued to be used. Most importantly, Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole remained the languages of the majority of the population of the state, leaving English and Spanish as minority languages.
Colonists referred to themselves and enslaved blacks who were native-born as creole, to distinguish them from new arrivals from France and Spain as well as Africa. Over time, white Creoles, mixed-raced Creoles, and Africans created a French, Spanish, and West African hybrid language called Louisiana Creole or Louisiana Creole French. American Indians, such as the Creek people, intermixed with Creoles also, making three races present in the ethnic group.
18th century portrait of a Free woman of color.
In some circumstances, Creole French was used by slaves, planters and free people of color alike, though many utilized French, and in some cases, Spanish (Louisiana Creole French is not commonly spoken, but used in singular situations). However, It is still spoken by Louisiana Creoles in Texas and Louisiana. It can primarily be heard in Zydeco music, at Creole Rodeos and among Creole and some Cajun neighborhoods. Louisiana Creole is typically not spoken in New Orleans in modernity, but certain words and phrases are still used.
"Créole Soirée" in a collection in New Orleans, louisiana.