UA Art Historian Reveals Afro-Creole Leadership Through Art Patronage

Dr. Wendy Castenell

Assistant Professor of African American art, Dr. Wendy Castenell, recently published “The Architects of Reconstruction: Alcès Family Portraits as Emblems of Afro-Creole Leadership.” She tells the story of the artistic production and patronage among “a class of assertive and vocal Afro-Creole leaders” in New Orleans who became political activists in the city after its fall to the Union in 1862, through the period of Reconstruction, using examples of the paintings and photographic portraits they commissioned. The essay appears in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 6, no. 1 (Spring 2020).

old photographic portrait of a serious looking man
Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, ca. 1860

Dr. Castenell teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in African American art. Her research focuses on African American art; portraiture; gender studies; representations of race and ethnicity in American visual culture; film history and theory; and cross-cultural contact. Her current book project is Creole Identity in the Art of the American South: Louisiana from the Colonial Era to Reconstruction, under contract with Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.