Visit art galleries and online art galleries in most cities and you’ll notice a striking difference from the New Orleans art market.
The difference is the mixture in New Orleans of antique art with contemporary art, where in most cities you will see almost exclusively the contemporary art. That’s because New Orleans has a rich tradition of artists capturing the unique features of the New Orleans scene, such as jazz players, French Quarter architecture, steamboats, unique food and restaurants, Mardi Gras and other ripe subjects.
The result is that in a French Quarter antique store you might see a painting from the 1940’s by Knut Heldner of a French Quarter scene; and two streets over you will see a similar scene painted by a contemporary New Orleans artist.
It’s not as though other great cities have no histories, and no painters who were capturing it. Of course you can find antique paintings of St. Louis, for example. But there is not a real market for it. The older paintings are simply outliers that might turn up in an auction here or there. The New Orleans art market, by contrast, is imbued with this historical art. There are THREE auction houses in New Orleans that heavily promote and sell antique New Orleans art, for example. You will not find that in any other city in America.
You can find a good deal of this antique New Orleans art online, such as here at New Orleans Art Exchange. One can also find it in some of the French Quarter art galleries, and through dealers such as Guy Lyman Fine Art.