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 Adrien Persac  (1823 - 1873)

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Lived/Active: Louisiana / France      Known for: naive landscape-estate views

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Marie Adrien Persac is primarily known as Adrien Persac

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Ad Code: 3
Adrien Persac
from Auction House Records.
Palo Alto Plantation, Ascension Parish
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
French-born watercolorist Marie Adrien Persac is known for his dozens of detailed renderings in watercolor of buildings in Louisiana. Legend has it that he came to America originally to hunt buffalo, but it is known for certain that by 1851, he was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He married to Marie Odile Daigre, lived on Bayou Manchac, and worked as a civil engineer and map-maker.

In 1856, Persac, with partner William G. Vail, opened a short-lived photography business where he also exhibited his drawings and watercolors. Persac was living in New Orleans after 1857, working again as a civil engineer and architect, and painting watercolors of the local architecture, whether ordinary buildings or elegant plantation houses.

In an early example of collage, Persac pasted figures on some of his early works that he and others drew, or he cut from newspapers or magazines, though he ceased the practice in his later watercolors, working directly on the paper.

Persac left a twenty-picture record of life on New Orleans's Canal Street in 1873, as well as a visual history of the architecture of Louisiana, painting comprehensive plantation views including not only the magisterial homes of the owners, but sugar houses, overseers' cabins, slave quarters, pigeon coops, privies, gardens, fencesthe social and agricultural life of the South.

He also painted simple but colorful watercolors of buildings on newly-surveyed properties as a record for notary publics of the day. They remain in the Archives of New Orleans's Office of Notaries.

In 1869, Persac opened, on Camp Street, a drawing and painting school, teaching landscape and portrait.

An exhibition of more than sixty-five of Persac's watercolors of 19th Century buildings, many now gone, was held in 2001 at the Historic New Orleans Collection. A catalogue of the exhibition, Marie Adrien Persac: Louisiana Artist, was published by Louisiana State University Press with essays by H. Parrott Bacot, Barbara Sorell Bacot, John H. Lawrence, John Magill and Sally Kittredge Reeves.

"The Magazine Antiques", Allison Eckardt Ledes, February 2001

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