At 17 feet tall and 14 feet wide, Box of Artificial Flowers #6 is the largest single sculpture Kohlmeyer created. Before being acquired nearly 35 years ago by a private collector in suburban Chicago, the sculpture was temporarily sited in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s (NOMA) iconic reflecting pool in front of the Museum as part of an exhibition organized by the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kohlmeyer first exhibited her work at NOMA in 1957.
The Helis Foundation purchased the sculpture from the private collector in mid-2018 and invested in the complete restoration of the piece by one of Kohlmeyer’s original studio assistants, G. Paul Lucas. Lucas, now based in Kansas City, worked with the artist from 1989 until her death in 1997 and restores two to three pieces of her work a year.
After the restoration was completed, the sculpture was transported home to New Orleans, as part of The Helis Foundation Collection, to join the eighteen other sculptures on view along the Poydras Corridor.
Born in New Orleans in 1912, Kohlmeyer is one of Louisiana’s best-known modern artists. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Newcomb College and went on to study in New York where she established herself as an abstract artist. Retrospectives of her work have been organized by Newcomb Museum, NOMA, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC and the High Museum in Atlanta. Examples of her work have been included in group exhibitions and are found in major museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the San Francisco Museum of Art.