Pop-up exhibit celebrates Newcomb College history

Students studying at Howard Tilton Memorial Library now have a way to take an art-filled study break without ever leaving the library. From now through April 10, Newcomb Art Museum is hosting a pop-up exhibition titled “The Most Natural Expression of Locality: Jazz, Newcomb Pottery and the Creative Impulse in Turn-of-the-Century New Orleans” on the fifth floor.

Just in time for Women’s History Month, the pop-up show introduces students to the rich history of Newcomb College’s famous art enterprise: Newcomb Pottery. Founded through a partnership with Tulane University in 1886, Newcomb College was the South’s first degree-granting institution for women. The pottery produced by students at the school is now known throughout the world as a representation of the American Arts and Craft movement.

Debuted at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and currently traveling through various school libraries, the eight-panel display examines the parallel evolution of jazz and Newcomb pottery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as the influence of New Orleans’ cultural and physical landscape on both art forms.

“We love having different opportunities to share the Newcomb Pottery in the museum’s collection.”

— Laura Blereau, Newcomb Art Museum curator

Historical photographs and images of pottery are paired with period lyrics, underscoring the shared aesthetic foundation of these otherwise distinct creative expressions.

Included with the panel exhibition are two vitrines showcasing prime examples of Newcomb Pottery including Sadie Irvine’s iconic vase featuring the ‘Moon and Moss’ design.

“We love having different opportunities to share the Newcomb Pottery in the museum’s collection,” said Newcomb Art Museum curator Laura Blereau. “In these vitrines you’ll see works from Sadie Irvine, Leona Nicholson, Marie Benson, and Henrietta Bailey, each with their own unique ceramic interpretation of the Louisiana landscape.”

To see further examples of Newcomb Pottery, visit Newcomb Art Museum’s current exhibition, “Clay in Place: Highlights from the Collection,” on view through March 24.