Monet in New Orleans

The Rau Gallery Boasts an Impressive Collection of Renowned Work

Monets Falaise

Monet’s Falaise

Unknown even to many of New Orleans’s lifelong residents, the French Quarter still holds several secrets nestled between its bars and tourist traps. Among them is the quietly world-renowned M. S. Rau Antiques Gallery, founded in 1912 by Max Rau along the 700 block of Royal Street.

Passed from Max to his sons Elias and Joe, and eventually to Elias’s sons, Jack and Bill, the Rau gallery has spent more than 100 years offering some of the finest pieces of art, furniture, and jewelry available in New Orleans. Among the most notable pieces on display within the gallery are several works by renowned impressionist Claude Monet. The pieces Falaise, Au Val Saint-Nicolas près Dieppe, and Au Large are currently available for purchase, all of which carry seven-figure price tags.[1]

Monet himself spearheaded the Impressionist movement, displaying his works alongside those of Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir in the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874 Paris. A naturalist all his life, Monet studied how the shadows in landscapes changed depending on the time and weather of the day, as represented by his Falaise study, depicting a rocky shoreline in the foreground escalating into exquisite cliffs on the left and contrasting the misty, flat sea to the right.[2] Monet’s ingenious varied mark-making style on the canvas perfectly conveys each specific texture in the work, from hard, jagged bluffs to smooth, undisturbed plains of water.

Additionally, Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Alchemist and Norman Rockwell’s The Golfer round out the Rau gallery’s distinguished collection of pieces.[3] One unique feature of the Rau Gallery, increasingly rare among collections of its caliber, is the ability to examine each piece very closely, without obtrusive glass or barriers.

The gallery even displays one of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s works, Pont Du Gard Nimes, which depicts a Roman aqueduct over 2,000 years old. While Churchill produced roughly 500 works during the second half of life, as he only began to paint in his forties, about 350 of his pieces are kept in Churchill’s studio in Chartwell. Additionally, with many of the remaining works kept in private collections internationally, the inclusion of such a work in the Rau Gallery offers a rare opportunity for the viewer.[4]

The M.S. Rau Gallery offers one of the most unique experiences in New Orleans by providing each viewer with the rare opportunity to appreciate some of the greatest works of visual art available to the public, free from crowds or obstructive barriers.