The Artist’s Hand At Naples Art With The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation

Frank Verpoorten curates a selection of work from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation for a spectacular exhibition at Naples Art.

Jean-Baptiste Secheret, New York, l’Ombre sur Central Park, 2008

NAPLES ART FEATURES A BEAUTIFUL SURVEY OF WORKS in different media and scale from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation. Amassed over a period of more than fifty years and including artists from different continents, The William Louis-Dreyfus collection is a true testament to one visionary’s intuition, curiosity, and passion for collecting on the utmost personal level.

The Artist’s Hand presents a compelling look into the idiosyncrasy of this particular collection and showcases the techniques and vantage points of the artists Louis-Dreyfus collected. With an open mind, he expressed an endless intellectual curiosity and willingness to learn. The collector’s pursuit was an ongoing visual art education always fueled by passion. He made no distinction between high and low art, which he conflated freely.

Antonio Segui, Torino 1916, 1972

I had the opportunity to walk through this exhibition with Naples Art Executive Director and Chief Curator, Frank Verpoorten, for whom the installation represents the pursuit of a passion project he long wished to realize. He went into detail about his early interest in and personal fascination with the collection and his friendship with William Louis-Dreyfus, whose original, non-prejudiced, and even contrarian approach to collecting he admires. He explained that, long before it was fashionable within the art historical community to give any attention to artists who are self-taught, either by necessity or choice, William Louis-Dreyfus passionately collected their work. Artists such as Nellie Mae Rowe, Bill Traylor, Purvis Young, Willie Young, Thornton Dial, and James Castle are all represented in depth in the collection. They were considered outsiders until prominent museums and other collectors took an interest in their work and re-considered their place in the art historical canon.

Dannielle Tegeder, Secret Midnight Sun Universe Plan with Chemical Silver Suspended Classification of Color and Shape Language, 2011-2014
Bill Rauhauser, Billiards – Roxy Barbershop, 1970s

The William Louis-Dreyfus collection counts more than three thousand works by roughly two hundred artists. The holdings are international in scope and are outstanding for their stylistic variety. Frank Verpoorten selected work by seventy artists that he believes illustrates some important threads that underline the cohesiveness of the collection.

Notable among the earliest acquisitions Louis-Dreyfus made are works by two influential modern artists, Wassily Kandinsky and Jean Dubuffet, who are represented in the exhibition at Naples Art, and give an art historical meaning and intellectual framework to the collection.

Gideon Bok, The River, 2000
George Boorujy, Heath Hen, 2014

Frank remembers William as charismatic, witty, and disarming in his ways. He touches specifically on the long-lasting relationships that the collector made with the artists in his collection. He was able to help sustain the careers of artists through through art patronage. Speaking of William’s decision to set up an endowment to support the activities of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Verpoorten says, “There is no gesture more fitting to come full circle for William, and it was the final, unconventional move of one of the most anti-establishment art collectors I have known.”

The Artist’s Hand is on view at Naples Art through October 30.

Naples Art is located at 585 Park Street Naples FL, 34102. More information can be found on their website here: