Restoration Reveals 'Erased Boy'

November 1 2021

Image of Restoration Reveals 'Erased Boy'


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this rather interesting article recently published on regarding the restoration of a painting sold in 2005 by the New Orleans Museum of Art.

The c.1837 painting depicting Bélizaire and the Frey Children, attributed to Jacques Guillame Lucien Amans (1801-1888), was donated by descendants of the Frey family to the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1972. It was kept in storage until it was sold by the museum in 2005. The work was then purchased by an antique dealer and was subsequently cleaned.

Restoration revealed that a black house servant had been painted over and 'erased' from the painting. Recent undertaken with Katy Morlas Shannon, the head of history and interpretation at the Evergreen Plantation in Louisiana, has finally managed to piece together the history of this young boy.

According to the article:

The boy who was nearly erased has a name: Bélizaire.

He was 15 and a house servant in the Frey household.  He was the only child in the painting to live on into adulthood.  


The portrait of the four children now in Simien’s collection was never shown at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The painting was in very poor condition and would have required restoration, cleaning, and repair, said Lisa Rotondo-McCord, NOMA’s Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs. There is no record of a request from scholars or a conservator to view the painting, which might have prompted the museum to conduct further research or restoration of the painting, she said. 

The museum had hoped to locate the painting several years after it was sold to include it in a 2019 exhibit called “Inventing Acadia” curated by Katie Pfohl, which featured 19th century Louisiana landscape paintings. Simien at the time was also trying to locate the painting, which by that point had been restored to its original form.

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