General Jackson's Paradise
Etching by H. H. Mitchell

General Jackson's Paradise: New Orleans Jackson Square Etching by H. H. Mitchell

“General Jackson's Paradise,” etching by H. H. Mitchell. (The embossed fleur-de-lis Mitchells logo appears in this display only for purposes of image security.)

“General Jackson's Paradise,” original etching by H. H. Mitchell depicting Jackson Square, New Orleans. Edition of 200, pressed by the artist from the etched copper plate onto Arches Cover paper. Dated 1983 and signed in the plate. Each print titled, numbered, and signed in pencil by the artist. Plate size 9 x 12 inches. Deckle-edged paper size 11 x 15 inches. Unmatted, unframed, shipped in sturdy mailing tube.

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About the Scene

Jackson Square is famed as one of the country's most aesthetic public places. In the foreground of this etching is Jackson Square's gate leading onto Decatur Street. Exiting the Square from this gate, one is facing, across Decatur Street, Washington Artillery Park and beyond it, the levee and the Mississippi River.

In the middle of Jackson Square is sculptor Clark Mills' equestrian statue of General Andrew Jackson. He is depicted as reviewing and saluting his troops just before the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. The Square, long a military parade ground, and where the Louisiana Purchase from France was formally concluded in 1803, was called Place d'Armes when New Orleans was French, and Plaza de Armas when New Orleans was Spanish. After General Jackson's stunning victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans, the Square was renamed in his honor.

In the background, on the far side of the Square, is the St. Louis Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States. The first church on the site was built in 1718. Most of the present structure dates from 1850.

From the Artist

Jackson Square is the architectural, historical, cultural, and spiritual center of New Orleans' French Quarter. For me, just being there is exhilarating.

With differing acid-bite in the copper plate and resulting ink density, I accentuated the foreground (most bite and ink) from the more distant mid-Square (middling bite and ink) and the remote Cathedral (faint bite and ink). Thus the image acquires depth. Similarly I wanted the striding artist and panhandling pigeon to represent typical life around the Square, with more serenity within the park itself, and a soaring uplifting view of the distant Cathedral.

The depicted gentleman? Me. I always came away from the Square with something, and here I am carrying my portfolio containing . . . this etching.

When I showed my etching mentor Jack Miller the first print off the plate, he pointed to the gates and laughed, “You got a helluva bite there, Henry!”

– H. H. Mitchell

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