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In the early twentieth century, the French Quarter had become home to a vibrant community of working artists attracted to the atmosphere, architecture, and colorful individuals who populated the scene (and who also became some of its first preservationists). Louisiana native Rolland Golden was one of these artists to live, work, and raise a family in this most storied corner of New Orleans. With 94 black-and-white and 54 color photographs and illustrations, his memoir of that life focuses on the period of 1955 to 1976. Golden, a painter, discusses the particular challenges of making a living from art, and his story becomes a family affair involving his daughters and his beloved wife, Stella.

Golden’s studio sat in a patio on Royal Street, around the corner from Preservation Hall where old-time musicians played Dixieland Jazz. Golden sketched and painted many of them in a visual style that encompassed realism and gradually developed into abstract realism. Golden recalls work that he did in historic preservation, sketching architecture for publications such as the Vieux Carre Courier, and he discusses his studies with renowned regionalist painter John McCrady. The artist frankly discusses his experiences with the display, representation, and sale of his work, presenting a little-explored and yet crucial part of a working artist’s life. The memoir concludes with Golden and his wife traveling to the premiere of his exhibition in Moscow, having been selected by a Russian envoy as the only American artist to have a one-man touring exhibition in the former Soviet Union. Among the nearly 150 black-and-white and color illustrations are never-before-seen photos and sketches by the artist.

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