About Jim Blanchard

"He pursues his paintings with the mathematic exactness of the architect's rendering, and the visual elegance of an artist's brush." 

                                                                - John Kemp, Louisiana Cultural Vistas

Louisiana’s own, Jim Blanchard, is a prominent architectural archival artist and research enthusiast whose measured watercolor drawings are elaborate portraits of historic 18th and 19th century buildings. His works, and writings on his unique and exacting style have featured prominently in noted publications, such as A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana (The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities), and numerous others.

 

Private and public collections, museums, and universities house Jim’s works of archival pen-and-ink drawings with watercolor and gouache, including The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, and noted others, including the Great River Road Museum.

 

Jim's Magnificent Showing at the Ogden 

A Precise Vision: 

The Architectural Archival Watercolors of Jim Blanchard

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An exhibit of Jim Blanchard's Architectural Archival Watercolors depicting the architecture and history of New Orleans and south Louisiana.  

 

Jim Blanchard is a contemporary topographical artist known for his architectural watercolors of historic Louisiana buildings. A native son of Lafourche Parish in South Louisiana, he was raised amid the aging plantations and vernacular 19th century architecture of the region. Born in Thibodaux in 1955, Blanchard briefly studied at Nicholls State University before joining the family’s oil brokerage business. It was there that Blanchard learned to research archives and public records, and honed his drafting skills through making maps. Moving to New Orleans in the early 1980s, Blanchard – like many artists before –  fell in love with the city and its cultural and architectural history.    

 

In New Orleans, Blanchard turned his full attention to creating artworks based on the region’s architectural history. Using ink, watercolor and gouache as his primary medium, he depicted the grand buildings of the past with the precision of an architect, the integrity of an historian, and the hand of a master watercolorist. Over the next thirty years, Blanchard created a stunning body of work that stands as testament to both his skill and artistry, and to the rich history of Louisiana’s built environment.

 

Eschewing the romanticism of decay so often embraced by contemporary artists, Blanchard depicts these buildings in their original glory, often adding figures in period costume for both scale and context. Calling them “architectural archival watercolors” for their precise scale and historical accuracy, Blanchard’s works exist as both architectural renderings and topographical history paintings. In the tradition of the great 19th century architect and painter, Marie Adrien Persac, the paintings of Jim Blanchard combine history, aesthetic and skill to create a visual document that is both accurate and idealized. Through these works, grand homes rise from the ashes of the past, crumbling facades are restored, and faded images glow with the color of life.  

 

A Precise Vision brings together works from throughout Blanchard’s career for the largest exhibition of his work to date. Drawing from both private and public collections, this exhibition tells the story of one man’s mastery of his chosen medium, of his obsession with the built environment of his home, and of his transcendent combination of history and art.

                                                                                   March 8, 2018 through August 19, 2018

       

                                A Precise Vision:

  The Architectural Archival Watercolors of Jim Blanchard

             An exhibition celebrating the New Orleans Tricentennial

         

       

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... on the Cover of

Country Roads Magazine

August, 2020

In our Deep South Design issue, over and over again we see examples of old things being made new, old things being used to make new things, and an overall coalescence between the past and the future, taking place in the brilliant present. Jim Blanchard, profiled in this month's "Perspectives" column, is a master of such time warps, recreating the most iconic architectural achievements of our region in perfect, excruciating detail. The result of deep dive research and classical technique, our cover for this month is a proud example of his work. The circa 1859 Campbell Mansion, designed and built by New York architect Lewis E. Reynolds, was seized by federal troops during the Civil War, then transformed over the years into the luxurious residence of Judge Henry Spofford, then the Poydras Home, then the Mansion Apartments. It was demolished in 1965 to make way for a parking lot, but lives on in perfect detail in Campbell's rendering. 

A PRECISE VISION: THE ARCHITECTURAL ARCHIVAL WATERCOLORS
OF JIM BLANCHARD CELEBRATING THE NEW ORLEANS TRICENTENNIAL

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Click the SHOP button to see Jim's available prints, Originals, and more

Perspectives: Jim Blanchard

At the crossroads of old-school technique and modern research, history rebuilds itself.

BY CHRISTINA LEO

JULY 23, 2020

The Louisiana Jockey Club, by Jim Blanchard

The Luling mansion on Esplanade Avenue was designed by James Gallier, architect, for Florence Luling in 1865.  The mansion was built in the Renaissance palazzo style on a thirty acre tract on the fashionable Esplanade Ave. in New Orleans.  The Lulings, after the loss of their two sons, departed the mansion and moved to Europe. The estate was purchased by the Louisiana Jockey Club in 1871 and the mansion became host for many extravagant receptions, dinners, concerts and balls.  In 1905, the property was sold and the estate was subdivided into lots for sale.  The wings were demolished and the mansion became apartments. 

More on the Campbell Mansion from Jim Blanchard

Campbell Mansion

Campbell Mansion
by Jim Blanchard, 2018
Corner of St. Charles Avenue
and Julia Streets

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Left:  Carved  Cypress Bracket from the Second Floor Gallery of the Campbell Mansion

Below:  Piece of the Interior Door Trim from the Campbell Mansion

Both items are in the Collection of Jim Blanchard.

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See many of Jim's original paintings at the Great River Road Museum,

adjacent to Houmas House Estate and Gardens.

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40100 Highway 942 (River Road)

Darrow, Louisiana 70725

Open Daily

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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