Newcomb Art Gallery

Newcomb Art Gallery hallway

Newcomb Art Gallery is an art museum located in the Woldenberg Art Center on the campus of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is known for its significant collection of Newcomb Pottery and other crafts produced at Newcomb College, as well as administering the art collections of the university.[1]


In 1886, H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College was founded by Josephine Louise Newcomb in memory of her daughter Sophie for the education of women at Tulane.[2] The College was the first coordinate College for women in the United States.

The endowment was established by Mrs. Newcomb to provide, perpetuate, and protect the women’s college indefinitely. In the 1970s, Tulane sought to use this endowment for the purpose of the entire university during a time of economic hardship. Later, in the 1980s an effort was initiated to close the college and incorporate it into Tulane University. At the time of the Newcomb Centennial Celebration in 1986, concerned graduates of Newcomb College met as an ad hoc committee to re-establish the intended purpose of the original endowment and to reaffirm the integrity of Newcomb College. The Tulane board of trustees ultimately affirmed the status of H.Sophie Newcomb Memorial College[3] and established a Board to administer the Newcomb Endowment.

Early in this process, Mignon Faget, a New Orleans jewelry artist and a member of the committee, suggested establishing an art museum to maintain the legacy of Newcomb's art program and to ensure the permanence of Newcomb College. In the early 1990s, a grant funded by Joyce Frank Menschel, another Newcomb alumna, ultimately led to the establishment of the Newcomb Art Gallery.

In 1996, the Newcomb Art Department completed an expansion and renovation that included the addition of the Newcomb Art Gallery, a 3,600-square-foot (330 m2) exhibition space dedicated to presenting contemporary and historic exhibits to the Tulane and New Orleans communities. The Gallery became its own department within the School of Liberal Arts.

Although the Gallery's administrative offices were flooded with four feet of water by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the art holdings were relatively undamaged.[4] After Katrina, Tulane closed Newcomb College and diverted the school's endowment to other uses. The Newcomb Art Gallery remains as a legacy of the historic presence of the former Newcomb College. In 2010, the Gallery received a Community Arts Award from the Arts Council of New Orleans.[5]

In 2012, Tulane University implemented a new reporting structure for the Gallery, moving it out of the School of Liberal Arts and putting it under the Provost. The Gallery's current director is Moníca Ramírez-Montagut who began her tenure in July 2014.[6]


The founding faculty members intended that the exhibition gallery should be an integral component of the College’s educational mission, but it was also to serve the community by focusing national and international attention on Newcomb College, New Orleans, and Louisiana. Today, the Gallery presents exhibitions that enhance the University’s curriculum, link the city and the University through a common interest in the arts, and bring cultural opportunities to the community that other governmental and academic institutions don't provide. The Gallery strives to presents interdisciplinary exhibitions that are challenging, innovative, and socially relevant.


The Gallery holds on average three to five exhibitions annually. The exhibitions include educational programs such as through school programs, lectures, symposia, artist-led family programs, public tours, performances, studio demonstrations, and partnerships with other organizations. Thematic exhibitions from other cultures, such as those from Africa, Asia, and Central America, alternate with more contemporary shows. The Gallery has also presented exhibitions dedicated to well-known artists such as Pat Steir, David Smith, Joan Mitchell, Marsden Hartley, and Diane Arbus, Nick Cave, Ellsworth Kelly, as well as artists with a Newcomb connection like Mark Rothko, Ida Kohlmeyer, and current faculty member Gene Koss. Honoring the legacy of the artistic traditions of Newcomb College, the Gallery regularly presents work by women artists. In 2003 the Newcomb Art Gallery commissioned a new work by artist Carrie Mae Weems that became known as her "Louisiana Project".[7][8]


Lamps at the Newcomb Art Gallery

The Gallery maintains the Newcomb Art Collection, which includes outstanding groups of Newcomb pottery, first produced in 1895, and other objects associated with the Arts & Crafts Movement including embroidery, bound books, and metalwork. The first national coordinate college for women, Newcomb followed industrial trends offering intensive design training for decorative arts production. The Newcomb College Art Department is best known for its distinctive ceramic wares, and the Gallery houses more than 600 fine examples including important pieces made by Sadie Irvine,[9] Harriet Joor,[10] and Marie de Hoa LeBlanc.[11] It also has a significant collection of drawings, watercolors, paintings, and prints by Newcomb-affiliated teachers, artists, and designers. Occasionally, objects are purchased for the collection, but most acquisitions are the result of gifts and bequests. In addition, the Gallery administers the Tulane University Art Collection (TUAC), a teaching collection that includes examples of Louisiana portraiture, neo-classical sculpture, and prints primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries.


  1. ^ Newcomb Art Gallery - The Collections (accessed March 12, 2011).
  2. ^ Brandt V. B. Dixon (1928). A Brief History of H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, 1887-1919,. p. 208.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Newcomb Art Gallery's pottery collection, Audubon prints survive Katrina flooding", New Orleans CityBusiness, October 24, 2005.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Carrie Mae Weems: the Louisiana Project (Newcomb Art Gallery, 2004), ISBN 978-0-9668595-4-6.
  8. ^ Kenneth Baker, "Two centuries ago, the U.S. doubled in size. At what cost? One artist wonders -- in black and white." San Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 2006.
  9. ^ "Sarah Agnes Estelle Irvine". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  10. ^ "Harriet Coulter Joor". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  11. ^ "Marie de Hoa LeBlanc". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  • Poesch, Jessie J.. Main, Sally. 'Newcomb Pottery & Crafts: An Educational Enterprise for Women 1895-1940. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA: 2003.

External links

  • Newcomb Art Gallery

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.