Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise is the largest presentation of Newcomb arts and crafts in more than twenty-five years and offers new insights into the Newcomb community’s enduring mark on American art and industry. With 180 objects that span 45 years of production, the exhibition examines the role that the Newcomb school played in promoting art for the advancement of women and, in turn, New Orleans’ business and cultural communities, which were still struggling from the effects of the Civil War.
What began as an educational experiment in 1895 at the Newcomb College, Tulane University’s former women’s college, flourished into a quasi-commercial venture that offered an opportunity for Southern women to support themselves financially during and after their training as artists. Many of the works of the Newcomb Pottery enterprise were inspired by the native flora and fauna of the Gulf South, a style that became immediately recognizable and popular with influential collectors, curators and tastemakers across the country.
This exhibition features important examples of the iconic pottery, including the recently acquired daffodil motif vase by Harriet Joor, and jewelry, such as the 1929 silver and moonstone necklace attributed to Mary Williams Butler, as well as and other textiles, metalwork, bookbinding and other historical artifacts.
Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise is organized by the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and is supported in part by the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.