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Really Beautiful : Drawings, Sketches and Watercolor Studies by Henry Casselli

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He's from the Ninth Ward, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran. He's also a leading New Orleans portrait painter, with White House commissions to prove it. After seeing his work at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2000, German art collectors Lieselotte and Ernest Tansey commissioned a portrait of her for the Lieselotte Tansey Breast Cancer Center at the Ochsner Clinic. They also funded NOMA's acquisition of more than 300 pieces from Casselli's own archives, ranging from his earliest work to his Katrina's "Left Behind" studies. "Katrina awakened many ghosts from Vietnam," he said. "Regardless of how I tried not to touch the subject, it kept coming out each time -- the angry, frightened faces of those left behind ..." Casselli has received numerous honors and awards including the American Watercolor Society's Gold Medal of Honor. -- D. Eric Bookhardt

Through August

New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, Collins C. Diboll Circle, 658-4100; www.noma.org

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