Paul Ninas: "Dean of Modern Art" in New Orleans

Amanda Winstead Fine Art
Oct 19, 2017 4:08PM

Paul Ninas
Spanish Colonial Buildings, probably Havana, Cuba
Amanda Winstead Fine Art

Paul Ninas (American/New Orleans, 1903-1964) was one of the pioneering modernists of the South, often described as the “Dean of Modern Art” in New Orleans.  Active in the city from 1932 until his death, Ninas traveled extensively, having spent time in Europe, Africa and the West Indies.  The artist spent the years prior to his arrival in New Orleans living and working on his coconut and lime plantation on the island of Dominica in the West Indies.  Each locale Ninas visited influenced his studies and artistic output. 

Amanda Winstead Fine Art is pleased to offer this beautiful example of a Spanish Colonial streetscape, depicted in a bright Fauvist palette with rectangles of color under an anthropomorphic sky by Paul Ninas.  The influences of Picasso are clear, most likely originating from the artist's visits to the Delgado Museum of Art's major Picasso exhibition organized and presented by the Museum of Modern Art in December 1940.

Ninas also incorporated mixed media into the composition, something that he was continually experimenting with during the 1940s and 1950s.  He chose to delineate the details of the doors and balustrades, which help identify this unique architecture and provide a sense of place and context to the painting.  Notebooks by Ninas include drawings from his time spent in the Caribbean, particularly Cuba, in the 1930s, perhaps providing inspiration for this important work.

We are particularly thrilled to present this work by Paul Ninas as he was a good friend and painting companion of our exclusive gallery artist Dusit Bongé.  We invite your inquiry.

"Paul Ninas, Waveland, Mississippi", December 1935 by Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ref.: Kemp, John R.. “Paul Ninas.” KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. 2012. Pennington, Estill Curtis, Downriver: Currents of Style in Louisiana Painting 1800-1950. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Co., 1991.

Amanda Winstead Fine Art