Conrad Albrizio (1894–1973) was born in New York City to a family of Italian immigrants who were sculptors of religious figures for churches. Albrizio traveled to New Orleans to study architecture in 1919 but discovered a passion for painting and joined the New Orleans Arts and Crafts Club in the French Quarter. Continuing to work as a draftsman and architectural designer to finance his artistic studies, Albrizio enrolled at New York’s Art Students League where he studied painting. In 1924, he traveled to Paris to continue his arts education. While in Europe he traveled to Belgium, Italy, Spain, and beyond to visit museums, perform historical research, and to study the landscape. In 1929, Albrizio enrolled at the National School of Arts and Trades in Rome, where he studied the classic techniques of fresco and encaustic painting.
When Albrizio returned to the United States in 1932, he was commissioned to complete multiple frescos for the new Louisiana State Capitol building and then the Capitol Annex Building in Baton Rouge. Throughout Albrizio’s career, his frescoes and mosaic murals would adorn the walls of public buildings across the Gulf Coast. Albrizio created art in spaces accessible by the community, intending for his work to be encountered by people in their daily lives. Though Albrizio is best remembered for his public murals, he was also a skilled painter of landscapes and portraits, instilling his subjects with energy and emotion which reaches beyond the boundaries of the picture plane. The religious ecstasy of a Southern Black baptism occurring in a river shown in Jordan is palpable.
Conrad Albrizio joined the faculty at the newly established art school at Louisiana State University in 1935, where he taught art for nearly twenty years. Captivated by the charm and vitality of south Louisiana, Albrizio believed that the art produced by Southern artists would one day be recognized as “true American art.”
Conrad Albrizio, Jordan, 1935–1937. Oil on panel, 40 x 48 inches. Purchased from Tilden-Foley Gallery. Louisiana Art & Science Museum Collection, 1984.006.001
You may have seen fresco murals that were painted by art students in the 1930s under Albrizio’s direction in Louisiana State University’s Allen Hall