JEAN SEIDENBERG Paintings and Drawings - The Figure





One of the biggest surprises of my professional life happened in 1998 when my work was selected for “The New Orleans Triennial,” a prestigious exhibition sponsored by The New Orleans Museum of Art.   I had sent slides for years to previous Triennials and never caught the brass ring. Carlotta Kotik, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, served as visiting curator for the show and made her selections from thousands of slide submissions from thirteen states of the south and southeast.  The paintings of mine selected for the exhibition were Arthur I, Arthur II and Charlie. The three paintings seemed to hold court in one corner of the large exhibition space, three formidable human figures staring out at a collection of abstractions, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, conceptual pieces, photography and video.  In the next room was an installation made of thousands of cigarette butts.  It was a startling assemblage to find my work in but it was indeed a microcosm of the art world today.


I am and have always been a figurative artist.  I have sustained this commitment for the fifty years of my professional life.  Even my ten years of activity with sculpture was always based on the figure no matter how abstract it might become.  My subject has persistently been family and friends, children and lovers, and the relationship of artist to model within the intimacy of the studio.  My recent work has been much concerned with the nude, that formidable icon in western art.  The lump and hollow, the hard and the soft, the density of pigment expressing muscle and bone, “Does that forehead look and feel as hard as we know it is?”  This is my game whether painting or drawing.  The portrait and human figure in art can easily be seen as that part of the western understanding of man as an independent being. From the Fayum coffin portraits to Roman sculpture, through the middle ages, the renaissance and into modern times the depiction of the human head and figure is almost always that of an individual.
Attached is a full resume, but here are highlights.  I was a Tiffany Foundation Fellow in 1960. In 1962 I was included in “Recent Painting USA, The Figure,” The Museum of Modern Art’s survey that traveled to seven national museum venues.  In 1965 and 1966 I received purchase awards for sculpture at Ball State University and the Arkansas Art Center.  In 1969 I was given a major one-man show of my painting and sculpture at Middlebury College in Vermont. 


I moved to New Orleans from New York City with my first wife in 1951. In New Orleans we had very inexpensive costs of living (relative to other cities it still is) and family support.  Always the entrepreneur I earned a living early on through related crafts and activities..  For eighteen years I designed and executed scenery for two of the prominent carnival ball clubs.  I did art works for architecture and bronzes for churches, and a great many portraits in graphite, tempera and oil.  I am a generally skilled mechanic and over the years I’ve renovated and built houses and established New Orleans’ first independent bronze casting foundry for my work in 1963.  In 1956 I was a founding artist member of the city’s first and only nonprofit contemporary art collective, the Orleans Gallery, which helped create the contemporary art market that now flourishes in our city.  Throughout the fifties and early sixties I also worked with photography (which I taught at Tulane University) and was invited to join shows at the University of Indiana and Newcomb College.


Three years ago I was given a 5.3 meg digital camera in trade for a drawing by a plastic surgeon friend.  With this and a large hard drive, I have been formatting catalogues of my work that I can now distribute as CD’s at very small expense to galleries nationally and expand my contacts.  I was also able to place the catalogue of paintings and drawings on line at:


                (click on Art & Culture then find “Jean Seidenberg Catalogue 
                      of Paintings and Drawings” download “flipviewer.” Note: It only operates on PC and OS X)
I now have a Pantheon of paintings and drawings peopled by friends and neighbors that continues to grow.  One admirer commented on the historic dimension of this work.  Because of my slow working procedures and the erratic availability of my volunteer sitters, completion of work can take some time.  The paired Arthur  paintings took two and a half years until I determined that they were complete.  Several of the works in my CD presentation are still in progress.  The more finished large drawings I have been doing recently are clear examples of where my painting is moving.  Larger scale and the “interior” as subject are entering into the mix.  It is actually a return to my painting ideas of the 1960’s.  Allusions to past masters surface occasionally when I sense the connections, as in the “Arthur” paintings.  In the early 1980’s I did my first portrait of my new wife Charlotte with a bath towel as a turban, which she wore after washing her hair. She questioned this informality.  So I gave her an art history lesson in Roman Sculpture and Raphael, Rembrandt, David and Ingres.  Also, as she is an ardent wildlife gardener and garden writer, she appeared in time in another painting as a latter-day Flora. Currently I am beginning a new group of drawings and paintings, which are a nod to Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”.

Jean Seidenberg   -  New Orleans, LA.








1930               Born February 14 in New York City.
1946-47          Attended with scholarships the Brooklyn Museum Art School,
                      New York City Art League Classes and the Museum of Modern Art School.
1947-48          Attended with Scholarship College of Fine Art, Syracuse University.
1949               Worked in New York City.
1950               Lived and worked in Dennis, Massachusetts.
1951               Moved to New Orleans, Louisiana.
1956               Founding member, Orleans Gallery, New Orleans.
                      Daughter Eugenie born.
1957-65          Taught Photography, Newcomb College Department of Art, Tulane University.       

1959               Son Brett born.
1960               Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship in Painting.
1962               Began working as Sculptor.
1963               Organized and built first independent foundry for lost wax casting in the South.
1964-70          Working summers in Warren, Vermont.
1971               Taught sculpture. Southampton College. Summer faculty.
                      Southampton, New York.
1972-73           Visiting Professor in sculpture. Florida State University, Tallahassee.
1973-79           Devoted full time to real estate development.
1980               Resumed career as painter.
1981               Marriage to Charlotte Conti Rosenzweig.
One-Man Exhibitions
1955               Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans.
1959               Orleans Gallery, New Orleans.
1962               Orleans Gallery, New Orleans.
1963               Gallery 21, Birmingham, Alabama.
1964               Drawings, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
                      Orleans Gallery, New Orleans.
1965               Photographs, Newcomb College, Tulane University, New Orleans.
1969               Glade Gallery, New Orleans.
                      Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont.
Washington Irving Gallery, New York City.
1983               Academy Gallery, New Orleans.
                      Griffith Menard Gallery, Baton Rouge.
Group Exhibitions
1951-61           New Orleans Art Association Annuals. Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans.
                       Louisiana State Art Commission Annuals, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1957                Bressler Galleries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
                       The Little Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
                       Island Art Colony, Sea Island, Georgia.
1958                Now in New Orleans Exhibition, Riverside Museum, New York City.        
                       Southwestern Louisiana Institute, Lafayette, Louisiana.
1959                Pensacola Art Center, Pensacola, Florida.
                       Village Art Center, New York City
                       Golden Jubilee Art Exhibition, New Orleans.
1961                Butler Art Institute Annual, Youngstown, Ohio.
                       500 Years of Still Life. The Gallery of Mortimer Brandt. New York City. 
 1961               Orleans Gallery Salutes the East, 14th New Orleans International House Trade Mission to Japan and the Philippines,

                       United States Information Service.
1962                Twelfth Southwest Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas.
                       Orleans Gallery, Southeastern Museum Association Circuit.
                       Sixth Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
1965                Eleventh Annual Drawing and Small Sculpture Exhibition, Ball University, Muncie, Indiana.
                       New Art, New Orleans, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.
1966                Ninth Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
1969                Fourteenth Drawing and Small Sculpture Exhibition, Ball University, Muncie, Indiana.
                       Eleventh Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas. 
                       Fourth Annual Gulf Coast Art Exhibition, Mobile, Alabama.
1974                Faculty Exhibition, Florida State University.
1985                Portraits, New Orleans Academy of Fine Art Gallery.
1986                New Orleans Artists, New Orleans Academy of Fine Art Gallery.
                       Orleans Gallery; The Founders, Historic New Orleans Collection.
                       Orleans Gallery; The Founders, Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans.
1987                Images of Kathy B.  Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans.
1984                Artworks ‘84, Louisiana World Exposition, New Orleans.
                       Seldom Seen: Portraits from Private Collections, Arts Council of New Orleans.
2002                Drawings, New Orleans Academy of Fine Art Gallery.
2003                Self Portraits, New Orleans Academy of Fine Art Gallery.


1951                 Third Prize, Painting. Louisiana State Art Commission Annual.
1951                 First Prize, Painting. New Orleans Art Association Annual, Delgado Museum.
1953                 Third Prize, Painting. New Orleans Art Association Annual, Delgado Museum.
1954                 First Prize, Painting. Louisiana State Art Association Annual.
1958                 Portrait Prize, Painting.New Orleans Art Association Annual, Delgado Museum.
1965                 Purchase Award, Sculpture. Eleventh Annual Drawing & Small Sculpture Show,
                        Ball University Art Gallery, Muncie, Indiana.
1966                 Purchase Award, Sculpture. Ninth Delta Annual, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Invitational Exhibitions
1959                 Exhibition of Nine. Louisiana State University Centennial Year.Summer Festival of Art, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1959                 Photographers Choice. University of Indiana Department of Fine Arts, Bloomington, Indiana.
1962                 Recent Painting USA The Figure. Museum of Modern Art, New York City. 
                        Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio. 
                        Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado.   
                        Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland.
                        City Art Museum of Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri.  
                        Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana.
                        San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California.  
                        Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
                        Young Artists of Promise. The Gallery of Mortimer Brandt, New York City
1962                 Fifth Annual. East Tennessee State College.
1966                 Art in the Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State.
1968                 Louisiana Artists. Baton Rouge Gallery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
                        Volkfest ‘68. West Berlin, Germany.
1998                1998 New Orleans Triennial. New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans.


Public Commissions
1955                 Mosaic, Motel De Ville, New Orleans (destroyed).
1957                 Metal Mosaic, Saratoga Building, New Orleans.
                        Mosaic, residence of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lykes, Jr., New Orleans.
                        Sand Sculpture, James Derham Jr. High School, New Orleans.
                        Welded steel figure, Oil and Gas Building, New Orleans.
                        Welded ornamental world map. International House, New Orleans.
                        Sand Sculpture, residence of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lane, Covington, Louisiana.
1961                 Mosaic, Lakewood Country Club, Algiers, Louisiana.
1962                 Garden Sculpture Children on a Glide. Simon-Diaz Pediatric Clinic, New Orleans.  Reinstalled New Orleans Botanical Garden,

                             City Park, New Orleans.
                        Five life-size bronzes and Stations of the Cross, St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church, Harahan, Louisiana.
                        Sculptured garden screen. Phillips Area Jr. High School, New Orleans.
                        Figure of St. Michael, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Biloxi, Mississippi.
                        Bronze cross, Union Bethel AML Church, New Orleans.
1966                 Figure of St. Richard. Sr. Richard’s Catholic Church, Jackson, Mississippi.
1968                 Design for Louisiana Gettysburg Monument Commission.
                        Bronze portrait of Dr. George Burch, Tulane University Medical School, New  Orleans.
                        South Central Bell, Birmingham, Alabama.
1981                 Lobby painting. De La Ronde Hospital, Chalmette, Louisiana.
1983                 Touro Infirmary. Ceiling design, Radiation Room, New Orleans.
1988                 Papal Visit. Official Poster, New Orleans.


Public Collections
Pan American Life Insurance Co., New Orleans.
Ball University Art Gallery, Muncie, Indiana.
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock Arkansas.
De Beers Collection.
Louisiana Land & Exploration Co., New Orleans.

Major Portrait Commissions
Dr. George Burch, bronze, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans.
Honorable Moon Landrieu, tempera,
Department of Housing and Urban Development,Washington, D.C.
Honorable Lindy Boggs, tempera, Lindy C. Boggs Center for Energy and Bio-Technology,
               Tulane University, New Orleans.
Dr. Ray Haddad, tempera, Tulane Medical Center, New Orleans.
Founders & Partners, Lemle, Kelleher, Attorneys, graphite, New Orleans.
Dr. Isidore Cohn, oil, L.S.U. Medical School, New Orleans.
Dr. George Hoffman, oil, L.S.U. Medical School, New Orleans.
Moise S. Steeg, Jr., graphite, Steeg & O’Connor, Attorneys, New Orleans.
Dr. & Mrs. Eamon Kelley, president emeritus, oil, Tulane University, New Orleans
Private Collections (selected list)
Dr. and Mrs. Richard W. Levy, Pittsboro, NC.
Mr. Gabriel Jacobs, Shaw Island, WA.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Basset, Setauket, NY.
Mr. and Mrs. Richard McCarthy, New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Kolb, New Orleans.
Mrs. Judy Jackson Lyell, London, England.
Mrs. Pat Voinche, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mrs. Gwen Williams, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Franz Foundation, New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas P. McAlister, New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. William MacDonald, Glasgow, Scotland.
Mr. John Stewart, New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lupo, New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. Raul Bencomo, New Orleans.
Dr. and Mrs. Donald Bradburn, New Orleans.
Dr. Lawrence Hill, Woodville, MS.
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Kohlmeyer, Jr., New Orleans.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Lassen, New Orleans.
Mr. Leon Irwin, III, New Orleans.
Ms. Mignon Faget, New Orleans.
Mr. Zoltan Lust, Bristol, VT.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ledet, New Orleans.
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Redmon, New Orleans.


Selected Bibliography
Time, May 25, 1962, Vol. LXXIX No. 21, review “Recent Paintings USA: The Figure.”
Lansford, Alonzo, review, “Vernissage,” Vieux Carre Courier, January 27-February 2, 1962.
Ashton, Dore, review, “What About the Figure?” The Studio, August, 1962.
Porter, Fairfield, “Exhibition Preview, Recent Painting USA: The Figure,” Art in America, No. 1, 1962.
Lavenoux, Maurice, “Editor’s Diary: LXVI,” Liturgical Arts, February 1965.
Carstater, L. S., “Seidenberg’s Art,” Vieux Carre Courier, May 30, 1969.
Green, Roger, review, “Incisive Portraits Highlight Exhibit,” Lagniappe, Times-Picayune, November 18, 1983.
Price, Anne, “Distinct, Powerful Artistry on View,” Gallery, Sunday Magazine, Baton Rouge Advocate, December 11, 1983.
Martinez, Elsie, “Jean Seidenberg: The Artist and His Medium,” New Orleans Magazine, June, 1986.
Green, Roger, review, Times-Picayune, April 6, 1988.
Waddington, Chris, “NOMA Triennial A Buffet To Please All Artistic Tastes,” Lagniappe,Times-Picayune, September 11, 1998.
Carlotta Kotik, guest curator, 1998 New Orleans Triennial. Catalogue entry.


Please contact: or 504-899-6973

                       P.O. Box 15060 New Orleans, LA 70175-5060



You may also find my Flipalbum Catalogue of my work at on my Links page.

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