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Durieux (Caroline Wogan) Papers

(Mss. 3827)




Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Index Terms


Size. 2.5 linear feet.

Geographic locations. Louisiana; New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Mexico.

Inclusive dates. 1929-1981.

Bulk dates. 1941-1979.

Languages. English, Spanish, French.

Summary. Personal and professional correspondence, printed items including newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogs, and photographs of art works chronicle the career of New Orleans native modernist artist Caroline Wogan Durieux. Early documents demonstrate her involvement in the Latin American and New Orleans art worlds and her artistic emphasis in prints, satirical in nature. Later papers and photographs reflect her experiments with cliche verre and electron printing when she was a faculty member in the LSU Department of Art.

Related collections. Durieux, Caroline, Oral History Interview, 1975. Reminiscences on W.P.A. Federal Art Project, Oral History, 1975. Heberle, Franziska Letters.

Citation. Durieux (Caroline Wogan) Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Stack Location. X:53 and OS:D.

Biographical/Historical Note

Caroline Wogan Durieux (1896-1989), a New Orleans native of Creole descent, became a celebrated Louisiana artist of the twentieth century with her work represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institute, National Gallery, Library of Congress and Bibliotheque Nationale.

Durieux grew up in New Orleans on Esplanade Avenue and according to an artist's statement began graphically depicting her environment from an early age. She first studied art formally at Newcomb College under William and Ellsworth Woodward, major Southern artists painting in the regionally dominant style of Genteel Impressionism. She graduated from Newcomb with a Bachelor of Design degree (1916) and a second bachelor's degree in art education (1917). Durieux left New Orleans in 1918 to further her formal art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Deign. She studied at the Academy until 1920; there, she gained exposure to modernist techniques and styles and established a relationship with the Philadelphia art community she would maintain throughout her art career.

In 1920, Durieux married Pierre Durieux, a New Orleanian and export businessman, and the couple moved to Cuba for his business. They relocated to Mexico in 1926 and remained there until 1936. In Mexico, Caroline Durieux developed a satirical style in her paintings and lithographs, wielding her brush at the upper class of Mexicans and American businessmen. Her work attracted the attention and praise of Mexican modernist Diego Rivera, who painted her portrait and publicly lauded her art.

Durieux returned to the United States with one-man shows in Louisiana and began to gain acclaim in her own country. In New Orleans, she became involved in a Vieux Carre art colony centered in the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans. She taught at the Club's New Orleans Art School and exhibited frequently at the gallery. In 1938, she assumed the directorship of the WPA Federal Art Project in New Orleans from Ellsworth Woodward. The art project created public murals and exhibited at a WPA art gallery in the Vieux Carre.

While in New Orleans, she also taught at Newcomb College between 1938 and 1943. In 1943, LSU hired her as an instructor in painting and drawing, and she moved to Baton Rouge. She received her MFA from LSU in 1949 and taught as a professor at LSU until 1963. Her research at LSU resulted in a new print-making process she named electron printing which involved radioactive ink. She also revived the nineteenth-century Barbizon School's print process of cliche verre and developed a method to add color to cliche verres.

Durieux's experiments with electron prints and her other work earned widespread acclaim, and she exhibited her work internationally throughout the century. She published two books of her lithographs, Caroline Durieux: 43 Lithographs and Caroline Durieux: Lithographs from the Thirties and Forties.

Scope and Content Note

The Durieux papers include personal and professional correspondence, printed items, photographs of Durieux and her work, and graphic material, 1929 to 1981, which document the artistic career of the Louisiana artist and her work in art education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Early documents pertain to biographical information and exhibits and include exhibition catalogs, newspaper clippings and school records. Correspondence reflects her private and professional relationships with major art institutions and persons including Carl Zigrosser, Curator of Prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts. Printed items consist of newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and manuscript and typescript documents commenting on Durieux's work and chronicling her career. Later correspondence and printed items relate primarily to Durieux's experiments with electron and cliche verres print-making processes. The collection contains over 85 photographic reproductions of her prints and paintings, 9 negatives of electron prints, a positive of a cliche verre and 6 electron prints.

Series Descriptions

Series I. Correspondence, 1932-1979 (.5 linear feet)

Subseries A. Personal Correspondence, 1932-1979

The majority of personal letters were received from Carl Zigrosser, Curator of Prints at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, author of The Artist in America, and a close friend and admirer of Durieux. Other personal correspondents include Louisiana artists Weeks Hall and William Spratling, Tulane professor Howard Mumford Jones, and museum professional Aris Koutroulis.

Subseries B. Professional Correspondence, 1943-1978

Professional correspondence pertains to exhibits and purchases of Durieux's work, professional appointments at LSU, periodical articles about Durieux, her lithograph books, and her research in electron print-making.

Series II. Printed Items, 1929-1980 (1.25 linear feet)

Printed material consists primarily of newspaper clippings documenting Durieux exhibits and her experiments with electron prints and cliche verres. Typescripts detail techniques and processes of electron print-making, lithography and cliche verres, provide biographical data including listings of group shows, one-man shows and institutions with Durieux pieces in the permanent collection, and offer critiques of Durieux's work by Carl Zigrosser, Diego Rivera and others. Exhibition catalogs and announcements chronicle a small percentage of Durieux's professional activity from 1932 to 1979. Other printed items deal with the publication of her prints in books, two of her own as well as Gumbo Ya-Ya and Mardi Gras Day. Highlights of the series include two signed manuscript items, one a statement by Durieux about her career and the other a critique on Durieux by Diego Rivera, and a notebook kept by Durieux and Professor Olen Nance between 1954 and 1958, recording the experiments with electron prints.

Series III. Graphic Material, 1931-1981 (.75 linear feet)

The graphic series contains approximately 85 photographs of Durieux's lithographs, cliche verres, electron prints and paintings. The series also includes several untitled electron prints, nine negatives of electron prints, a positive of a cliche verre, an electron print color chart, and a sketchbook from the fifties. Individual portraits of Durieux (1941, 1943, 1975 and 1981) and three group photographs at DesJoubert Studio and Carl Zigrosser's 75th birthday complete the graphic series.

Index Terms

Index Terms Series
American Museum of Atomic Energy (Oak Ridge, Tn.) I-II
Anglo-American Art I-II
Art--Louisiana I-III
Art--Exhibitions I-II
Art--Louisiana I-III
Art--Exhibition--Catalogs I-III
Artists--Mexico I-II
Artists--United States--Louisiana I-III
Cliche Verres I-III
Durieux, Caroline, 1896-1989 I-III
Electron Prints I-III
Historic New Orleans Collection--Exhibitions II
Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress) I-II
Letters I
Lithography--United States--20th century I-III
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.)--Faculty I-II
Philadelphia Museum of Art I-II
Photoprints III
Prints I-III
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957 II
Spratling, William, 1900-1967 I-II
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891 I-III