The Odyssey Continues: Masterworks
from the New Orleans Museum of Art
& Private New Orleans Collections
Wildenstein & Company, New York.
November 16, 2006-February 9, 2007

Natural disasters—as opposed to the man-made variety such as wars and revolutions—have historically shown a peculiar kind of selectivity when it comes to works of art. The catastrophic earthquake that virtually destroyed Messina in 1908 claimed thousands of lives, yet left many of the city’s artistic treasures, if not intact, at least recoverable. On November 4, 1966, an unimaginably violent flood inundated the city of Florence, submerging its center for the better part of a day in a poisonous cocktail of water, dirt, organic detritus, and black heating oil—in certain areas as much as eighteen feet deep. The city’s vast artistic patrimony suffered irreparable losses, whereas the human toll was almost negligible.

 
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