Colette Pope Heldner

"Old Archway, Brulatour Patio," New Orleans by Colette Pope Heldner, Early 20th Century
Oil Paint
51 x 27 in
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Colette Pope Heldner is an iconic New Orleans painter, and Brulatour courtyard is a subject New Orleans painters have gone back to over and over. If you haven't taken a tour of the incredible courtyards of the French Quarter, you really should. Or at least just walk around and peek into a few! Heldner's old New Orleans architectural paintings such as this are harder to find than her swamp paintings. This is a big, beautiful one. Married to artist Knut Heldner, Colette Pope Heldner lived with him in the French Quarter in the early 20th-century, when it was a run-down area that hosted bums and bohemians only. (In fact, there was serious talk of tearing the Quarter down – perish the thought!). The couple painted scenes of the French Quarter and of the nearby swamplands, and their styles are somewhat similar. They sold their paintings out of a French Quarter shop. Heldner style Colette Heldner’s paintings are instantly recognizable for their exuberant impressionistic style and brave colors. She sometimes placed people, swamps shacks and various water-craft in the paintings, but her emphasis was not on articulating any one thing with great detail. Heldner’s paintings hold a place alongside those of Alexander Drysdale, George Dureau and a few others as iconically New Orleanian. Framed in a nice gold frame, ready to hang. 44" x 22" without the frame. The perfect painting for someone who really loves New Orleans, by a famous New Orleans artist whose work is instantly recognizable to New Orleanians.

Colette Pope Heldner

Colette Pope Heldner (maiden name Dorothy Colette Pope) was born in Waupaca, Wisconsin on May 18, 1902, and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. Heldner studied at the Rachel McFadden Art Studio in Duluth and married her instructor, the noted artist Knute Heldner. Her husband’s impressionist style and their trip to Europe was very influential on the change to Colette’s style. They moved to New Orleans and returned to Duluth for the summer, painting both Louisiana and Minnesota throughout their careers.

Colette was known for her French Quarter scenes as well as her Swamp Idyl paintings which proved to be financially successful for her. Colette innovated traditional French Quarter scenes through the replacing a brown tonality with bright colors and distortions on realistic form. The Heldner’s were less concerned with precision of elements, instead repeating stock elements such as cypress trees, shacks with porches, docks, moss, and fishermen. Many of her works include a dark, atmospheric quality. For decades Colette Heldner produced paintings for residents and tourists, which brought her much recognition. After her husband’s death in 1952, her paintings became more expressive with looser brushstrokes and bolder colors. She worked to meet the demand for her “swamp Idylls” paintings. Towards the end of her life, Heldner acquired many imitators in New Orleans.

Colette Pope Heldner received critical acclaim for a recent retrospective called “In a New Light; America’s Brush with Impressionism,” which was exhibited at the Morris Museum of Art. Her work was included in the exhibit along with some American masters such as William Merritt Chase and Ernest Lawson. Her paintings can be found in several private and public collections including the LSU Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.