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“The Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square” exhibition in New Orleans marks the 300th anniversary of the Louisiana city. Attending from left were exhibit curator Dr. Randolph Delehanty, artist Andrea Mistretta and Louisiana State Museum curator Wayne Phillips, with Mistretta’s painting, titled “Contemplation of The Baroness."
As an artist, Andrea Mistretta is uniquely and famously tied to the Carnival tradition of New Orleans, Louisiana. This year, she has presented her 34th annual commemorative Mardi Gras print featuring an enchantress that begs the question – whether it is she or “The Big Easy” that truly enchants? Behind the Venetian-style mask that she holds, stands the famous iron lace balcony of the Pontalba building and a backdrop of the French Quarter’s iconic historic architecture. Andrea has also written a definitive article about the history of commemorative Mardi Gras art dating back to the 1800s. It is published in Arthur Hardy’s 2019 Mardi Gras Guide.
The Louisiana State Museum requested Andrea’s Tricentennial painting to be displayed at its exhibition celebrating New Orleans 300th anniversary called “We Love You New Orleans” at the Cabildo. It is prominently displayed at its entrance with other artifacts considered essential to the city’s culture.
Louisiana Museum Foundation’s director Susan Maclay inquired how Andrea, as a contemporary female artist, would reimagine one of the most important figures in New Orleans’ history, The Baroness Micaela de Pontalba. The great significance of the Baroness had been little known until the Louisiana State Museum recently presented its current major exhibit, “The Baroness de Pontalba and The Rise of Jackson Square.” Though the Baroness was wealthy, she led a difficult life. As a survivor of an assassination attempt by her own father-in-law, she went on to reclaim her family’s wealth and fight for New Orleans to design and build some of the most influential buildings in America during the mid -1800s. Andrea seized the opportunity as her mission to portray part of The Baroness’ incredible life story by illustrating her with elements of the Baroness’ architectural works, including the famous cast iron lace balcony with her family’s AP (Almonester Pontalba) initials. Andrea was also honored to be invited to give a lecture about her painting titled “Contemplation of the Baroness” by the exhibit’s curator Dr. Randolph Delehanty at the historic Cabildo, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.
Though Andrea loves New Orleans, she lives in New Jersey and is guest curator at her own hometown’s Waldwick Museum of Local History. An exhibit of 14 her original paintings of classic children’s storybook covers are on exhibit at The Ridgewood Public Library in Ridgewood, New Jersey during the month of March. To inquire about Andrea’s exhibits, lectures, public art programs or private art commissions, contact: [email protected].