NEW ORLEANS – Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 1785-1802, curated by New Orleans native Cybèle Gontar, opens at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on March 8 and remains on view through September 2, 2018. This exhibition is held in conjunction with New Orleans’ Tricentennial exhibition programming, celebrating the city’s three-hundred year history.
Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 1785-1802 tells the story of the Yucatán-born artist Josef Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza (c. 1750-1802), who arrived in Louisiana in 1784 and spent 18 years creating portraits in New Orleans during the Spanish administration (1762-1802). Salazar’s daughter Francisca Salazar y Gordillo painted alongside her father, though only one of her New Orleans works was signed.
Thirty of Salazar’s most pertinent works will be on view, forming a collective portrait of Spanish colonial New Orleans. This corpus evokes the shifting geopolitical scene of the so-called Spanish borderlands via Salazar’s likenesses of diverse patrons and his amalgam of European, Spanish colonial and Anglo-American painting styles and traditions. The exhibition serves as the first critical examination of North America’s only known Spanish colonial portrait painter and contributes to the reexamination of artistic production in the colonial and antebellum Gulf South within the context of current discourse on the Atlantic World. For example, Salazar’s oeuvre is further considered in relation to other early New Orleans portraitists such as Jacques Amans, John James Audubon, François M. Guyol de Guiran and Louis Collas, whose careers are reflective of the city as a site of mobility and transatlantic artistic exchange. The portraits on view will be accompanied by examples of period decorative arts and clothing that evoke the objects that Salazar included in his works.
An accompanying catalogue published by the Ogden Museum of Art and University of New Orleans Press includes seven essays by Thomas Fiehrer, Gilbert C. Din, Robert W. Patch, Mayela Flores, Cybèle Gontar, Sally Reeves and Katherine Manthorne—scholars whose fields of expertise include the history of Mérida, Nueva Orleans, Gulf South portraiture, Latin American art and New Orleans’ historic notarial records. This text offers a broad consideration of Salazar’s background, career and legacy and considers his work in the context of late eighteenth-century portraiture from Europe, New Spain, the West Indies and North America by artists such as Goya, José Campeche, Agostino Brunias and Charles Willson Peale.
As curator Cybèle Gontar explains, “Salazar’s paintings reflect a critical decade in American history, the 1790s, and presage the Louisiana Purchase (1803). His portraits not only capture the visages of prominent French Creoles and Spanish administrators, but repeatedly show the likenesses of American military personnel and Philadelphia merchants, whose presence foretold New Orleans’ Americanization.”
“With diligence and grace, Cybèle has brought this show to life, and we couldn’t be more grateful for her commitment to serving as a steward of our city’s dynamic art history,” says William Pittman Andrews, Executive Director of the Ogden Museum.
The presenting sponsors of this exhibition are Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Patrick. Supporting sponsors include Katherine Patrick Coleman, Neal Auction Company, Roger Ogden and Ken Barnes, Karoline H. Patrick, Prentiss C. Patrick, and Daniel Rodgers. Host committee supporters include Alex Beard Studio, Gervais F. Favrot, Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino, Holden Family Collection, Marcia Holmes, Benjamin Lowry and Shelly Gallender, The Louisiana Museum Foundation, Louise H. Moffett Family Foundation, Bruce and Marian Margetson, Shirley R. Masinter, Peter Patout, Jeanie and Claiborne Perrilliat, Anne and Ronald Pincus, Cassandra Sharpe and Richard Look, Jane and William Sizeler and Dr. Nia K. Terezakis.
The opening reception for Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish New Orleans, 1785-1802 will take place Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ogden Museum.
About Josef Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza
The descendant of Spanish conquistadors, Josef Salazar y Mendoza was born in Mérida, Yucatán in about 1750. After relocating briefly to Campeche, Salazar moved to New Orleans with his wife Maria Antonia Magaña and children in 1784. Extant records show that he created religious works for St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, as well as many portraits, of which approximately forty are known today. He remained in New Orleans until his death in 1802 on the cusp of the Louisiana Purchase. The Salazar family relocated to Puebla, Mexico, where his son-in-law Pedro Gordillo had obtained a military appointment. His descendants have been traced to Mexico City and Madrid, Spain.
About the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art and is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events and educational programs which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature and culinary heritage to provide a comprehensive story of the South. Established in 1999 and in Stephen Goldring Hall since 2003, the Museum welcomes almost 85,000 visitors annually, and attracts diverse audiences through its broad range of programming including exhibitions, lectures, film screenings and concerts which are all part of its mission to broaden the knowledge, understanding, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South.
The Ogden Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays from 6 – 8 p.m. for Ogden After Hours. Admission is free to Museum Members and $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors 65 and older, $6.75 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5.
The Ogden Museum is free to Louisiana Residents on Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. courtesy of The Helis Foundation. The Helis Foundation is a Louisiana private foundation, established by the William Helis Family. The Art Funds of the Helis Foundation advance access to the arts for the community through contributions that sustain operations for, provide free admission to, acquire works of art and underwrite major exhibitions and projects of institutions within the Greater New Orleans area.
The Museum is closed Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.