A new exhibition at Naples Art brings together a curated selection of works in various media from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation. Assembled over a period of more than 50 years and spanning time periods and continents, the William Louis Dreyfus Collection is a testament to the intuition, curiosity and passion for collecting of a visionary on a personal level. The exhibition will be on display from August 6 to October 30.
William Louis-Dreyfus’s (1932-2016) open-minded approach to art acquisition remains independent of art world fads and contradicts itself in its disregard for valuation trends that the market dictates. With an open mind, endless intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn and be surprised, Louis-Dreyfus’ pursuit was a continuous education in visual art, fueled by a passion to be fascinated by the artist’s unique and creative trajectory. He makes no distinction between high and low art, which he loosely brings together in a collection that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in depth and visual imagination.
The Artist’s Hand presents a holistic view of the collector’s fascinating vision through the prism of his interest in assimilating the visual language and technique of the artists he collected. Of particular interest to him was the artist’s creative practice, and Louis-Dreyfus developed an affinity for the virtuous artistic process. He often cited his fascination with “worked-up” art, by which he meant works of art where there was evidence of the “artist’s hand”.
The close relationships and personal connections between the artists and Louis-Dreyfus gave his collecting practice a deeper meaning beyond the simple accumulation of art objects. Despite the abundance of artworks produced over the past few decades, the collector maintains a strong focus on quality and his selections show thematic cohesion in several respects.
“With quiet brilliance and idiosyncratic foresight, William Louis Dreyfus built a collection that artists and art historians today find irresistible,” said Frank Verpoorten, executive director and chief curator of Naples Art. “Yet long before it became fashionable in the art historical community to pay any attention to artists who, because of their location away from the center of the art world or because they were self-taught, William Louis-Dreyfus he passionately collected their works. Artists such as Nellie Mae Rowe, Bill Traylor, Purvis Young, Willie Young, Thornton Dial and James Castle, who are represented in our exhibition, were considered outsiders until prominent museums and other collectors took an interest in their work and rethought their place in the canon of art history.
As a passionate and conscientious patron of the arts, published poet, and philanthropist, William Louis-Dreyfus assembled a remarkable collection that highlights the conversations between the works of trained and untrained artists, giving voice to those who have been unfairly underrepresented in the canon of art history.
On the art of Naples
Naples Art is a nonprofit contemporary visual arts organization that has enriched the Naples community since its inception in 1954. Naples Art serves as a vibrant, inclusive cultural destination for art education, art exposure and experimentation. Its mission is to enlighten, engage, educate and enrich our community by providing a platform to foster creativity through the creation, study, viewing and discussion of art. Naples Art is located at 585 Park Street, one block south of Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples. For more information, visit www.NaplesArt.org or call 239-262-6517. ¦