top of page

Commissioned Art in the USA

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.

USA City Commissions

In 1931, Louis Orr was commissioned to do the William Howard Taft Memorial Etching the National Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. This image, which was hung in American embassies all over the world, was just one of the many numerous commissions he received for much of his career from American governments and businesses.

Washington, DC, 1931

North Carolina 1939-1952

In June 1939, on a sojourn in the United States that would be prolonged by World War II, Orr acceded to a request to execute the most outstanding work of his career, a monumental 51-etching series of historic buildings and sites of the state of North Carolina. For this commission, he collaborated with Robert Lee Humber, who later led the effort to establish the North Carolina Museum of Art. In April 1941, Orr completed what has become an iconic image of the North Carolina State Capitol Building.

Hartford & Lyme, Connecticut 

New York, 1929

USA College & University Commissions

From 1928-1930, Louis Orr was commissioned to produce etchings of many prestigious American universities and colleges. In 1929, Kenneth Phillips Britton called Louis Orr the:

“preeminent etcher of American colleges. His academic scenes have endeavored him to college graduates and collectors...Mr. Orr has caught in black and white the whole rich colored fabric of college life.”

Princeton University & Yale University, 1927