Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mardi Gras in the 19th Century

New Orleans, LA

Billboard for Carnival of the Picayune, Edition Rex, 1893

Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras and jazz, we were thrilled to see an exhibition of 1893 Mardi Gras float designs by Bror Anders Wikstrom at NOMA, the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Watercolor Design for Gambols on the Deep float

Artist Bror Anders Wikstrom arrived in New Orleans from Sweden in the early 1880s. He fell in love with the city and its people and remained there for the rest of his life.

Watercolor Design for An Arctic Symposium float

According to NOMA, Wikstrom’s fantastical float and costume designs elevated the extravaganza of Mardi Gras to modern day levels, as in this “Arctic Symposium” float.

Watercolor Design for a Poseidon and Sea float

Wikstrom’s Poseidon float design predates the New Orleans Krewe of Poseidon, established in 1957, by 64 years; and the Slidell Krewe of Poseidon, established in 2015, by 122 years.

Watercolor Design for the Devil's Basket float

The Devil’s Basket float seems to warn of the evils of gambling, card playing, and relying on Lady Luck. Or does it? The float riders seem happy in their indulgence, and the Devil rather benign.

Watercolor Design for Realm of Riches float

NOMA, located in City Park, has exhibited an eclectic mix of artwork for over 100 years. Non-flash photography is kindly allowed, and their collection is well worth browsing when you visit NOLA.

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