Louisiana's culture often seems to have sprung from its fertile soil. Out of the rich Louisiana sugar fields, New Orleans received a gift of lasting culture in early 1910, when sugar broker Isaac Delgado offered the city $150,000 to build a “temple of art for rich and poor alike” in City Park. The neo-classical, Beaux Arts-style Isaac Delgado Museum of Art opened in December 1911, but sadly, Delgado was too ill to attend. He died weeks later, and left yet another generous gift, an art collection gathered by his late aunt. Delgado’s 25,000-square-foot “temple” is still at the center of the now much larger New Orleans Museum of Art.
The Museum houses a $200 million collection in 46 galleries: European painting and sculpture from the 16th through 20th centuries; American painting and sculpture from the 18th and 19th centuries; European and American prints and drawings; Asian, African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and Native American art; photography; and European and American decorative arts. Special collections include the Peter Carl Fabergé treasures and the Latin American Colonial collection. NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden has become the latest cultural destination for locals and a must-see for visitors to the Crescent City. The world-class collection of 50 modern and contemporary sculpture is presented in an incredible, five-acre natural setting with delights at every turn.
The Museum ranks among the top 25 percent of the nation’s largest and most significant museums, and is the premier art museum in the Gulf South region. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have passed through its doors to see landmark international exhibitions such as “The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt”, “Jefferson’s America & Napoleon’s France”, “The Treasures of Tutankhamun”, “The Search for Alexander the Great”, “The Art of the Muppets”, and “Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musé Marmottan.”
The Museum is available for rental for large private parties, weddings and receptions and corporate functions. It provides an opulent setting for any event.
Museum members and students of member universities are allowed to use general research materials - auction catalogues and artist files, for example - in the Felix J. Dreyfous Research Library. Other interested researchers may make appointments to view some of the library’s non-circulating 30,000 volumes.