I n the photo above, Marie de Hoa LeBlanc presented various views of herself for the camera and left us an artistically interesting portrait. Marie de Hoa LeBlanc was one of the most colorful and prolific of the early Newcomb designers. Born in 1874 into an old Creole family, LeBlanc first attended Newcomb College at age 20. With the blessing of the family, she and her sister Emilie (also a prolific artist) rode the streetcar from their French Quarter home to Newcomb's Washington Avenue campus.

Until this time, both had probably lived within the confines of French-speaking New Orleans, venturing to Ursuline Academy and other spots located in their neighborhood. Little scholarly work has been done on the demographics of early Newcomb students, yet rumor always held that Creole families questioned higher education for girls, particularly at Newcomb College. But the Creole roots of Marie and Emilie (shown respectively in the photograph at left, ca. 1932) appeared no problem in their ventures uptown. They spoke French and English with equal eloquence; they later learned German and Spanish.

These languages served them well as they made yearly trips to study art, often in Europe; they also traveled to many Asian countries. In between these trips, Marie de Hoa LeBlanc worked as a Newcomb Pottery craftsperson (always called a craftsman), a painter, and a teacher within New Orleans public, private, and vocational schools. She won many awards for her efforts. In 1902, for example, she was awarded $150 to travel to Harvard for the Ross lecture series; in 1904, she was awarded $500 to travel to Europe for her superior work in pottery; and in 1912, she was the New Orleans' delegate to the International Art Congress in Dresden . She was awarded the Louisiana Purchase Exposition bronze medal in 1904 and the Art Association of New Orleans gold medal in 1914. The vase at the right is an example of LeBlanc's work from this period, completed ca. 1902-1903 with potter Joseph Meyer.

She returned to Newcomb College to study from 1909-1914, and also received further education at the Art Institute of Chicago and at Harvard University. In Munich, she studied with Martin Huyman and in Paris with L'Hote, Colarossi, and Grand Chaumiere.

Click here to see more examples of Marie de Hoa LeBlanc's work

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