Ports of America Commission
In 1928, Louis Orr was commissioned to produce etchings of fourteen ports in the United States. The Ports of America series portrays harbor-side views from the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico, creating a snapshot of important locations during a significant era. Ports of America is one of Louis Orr's most celebrated series of prints.
WORLD RENOWNED PRINTMAKER
"There is no better ambassador than a good picture.
There is no nationality in art.”
- Louis Orr
Louis Orr (1876-1966), is one of America’s greatest printmakers. Born in Hartford, Connecticut to a long line of printers, Orr was trained in the family craft from a young age. With this technical skill, Orr eventually became an artistic virtuoso. During his long and productive life, Orr received numerous commissions and honors in both his adopted country of France and the United States. From American universities to medieval Paris, Orr’s oeuvre captures the scale and magnificence of historic architecture from the perspective of a human witness for over half a century.
Among his achievements, Louis Orr was the first living American printmaker to be exhibited and collected by the government of France for the Louvre Art Museum. Moreover, he was awarded a knighthood in France in 1919 (Legion of Honor, Chevalier) and later bestowed the higher honor of Officer of the French Legion of Honor in 1930 for his heroic images of Reims Cathedral during World War I.
Louis Orr was born in Hartford Connecticut, where he got his start as an artist and printmaker. In his late twenties, he studied in Paris, where he met his French wife of nearly five decades. Orr settled with his wife in Paris and kept his main studio there, but throughout his life, he frequently traveled back to the United States, using Hartford as his home base. Orr was highly celebrated in the USA, holding exhibitions in major cities and receiving important commissions from colleges, universities, businesses, and local and state governments.
From 1906 to around 1930, Louis Orr spent his time in France producing magnificent etchings that captured scenes in Paris, Rouen, Avignon, and Southern France. Orr also made significant contributions to France's history with his well-known portrayals of Louis Pasteur and the Reims Cathedral.