Inventing Acadia

Painting and Place in Louisiana

Edited by Katie A. Pfohl; With contributions by Anna Arabindan-Kesson and Mia L. Bagneris, Aurora Yaratzeth Avilés García, Katie A. Pfohl, and Kelly Presutti, and a conversation between Regina Agu and Ryan N. Dennis

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A wide-ranging study of Louisiana landscape painting that places art from the region into a broader national and global context

With its dense forests and swamps, Louisiana captured the imagination of writers and painters who viewed its landscape as a fascinating, untamed wilderness. Starting in the 1820s when French émigrés brought the Barbizon school to New Orleans, the state attracted artists from Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the greater United States who shared ideas and experimented with approaches to the enigmatic scenery. Although Louisiana was in many ways an artists’ paradise, the land also bore the scars of colonialism and the forced migrations of slavery. Inventing Acadia explores this complex history, following the rise of Louisiana landscape art and situating it amid the cultural shifts of the 19th century. The authors engage not only with artworks but also with the issues that informed them—representations of race and industry, international trade, and climate change. These issues are then carried into the present with a look at the work of contemporary artist Regina Agu. Inventing Acadia establishes Louisiana’s role in creating a new vision for American art and highlights the continued relevance of landscape and representation.

Katie A. Pfohl is curator of modern and contemporary art at the New Orleans Museum of Art.


New Orleans Museum of Art
(November 16, 2019–January 26, 2020)

ISBN: 9780300247312
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the New Orleans Museum of Art
232 pages, 9 x 11
160 color illus.
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