NEW ORLEANS, LA.-
Opening to the public on February 8 and continuing through April 26, the New Orleans Museum of Art
presents Frederick J. Brown: New Portraits of Jazz Greats, an exhibition of paintings depicting 20th century musical giants including the likes of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.
Among other legends included are Thelonius Monk, New Orleans native Sidney Bechet, Ray Charles and Jelly Roll Morton. This latest series was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. James Flach as a promised gift to the Museum. The exhibition will be on view in the first-floor Ella West Freeman Gallery.
In a departure from his figurative work, Brown also has created a unique abstract composition, The Origins of the Blues, as an introduction to the series.
The New Orleans Museum of Art remains free to Louisiana residents through the generosity of The Helis Foundation. Hours are Wednesdays, noon to 8 p.m., and Thursdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For Brown, a Georgia native, music has served as an important source of inspiration for his entire life. Like many African Americans during the first half of the 20th century, Brown and his family eventually moved from the South to Chicago in search of work and a new way of life. This migration created an urban concentration of aspiration, assimilation and culturethe sort of conditions in which music, and more specifically the blues, flourished.
Browns childhood home was a place where artistic and musical expression were ubiquitous and highly encouraged, and famous blues men like Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf were often house guests.
In the 1970s, Browns loft in New York City served as both a painting studio and a performance space, where Brown met and collaborated with musicians, dancers, artists and celebrities, such as Ornette Coleman, Chet Baker and Andy Warhol. This creative and interdisciplinary environment provided Brown the encouragement and confidence to paint not only what he saw, but also what he heard.