Reclining Nude Eating Grapes

The artistic identity of the New Orleans Botanical Garden and City Park comes primarily from the talents of Mexican-born artist Enrique Alferez (1901-1999). When Alferez came to New Orleans in 1929, he had already acquired a national reputation for creating Art Deco style sculpture using industrial materials such as concrete and steel, rather than traditional materials to depict patterns of the natural landscape. Even before entering the garden, one can see the influence Alferez had on the Park.  He created designs on the bridges and various sculptures throughout the Park- most notably at Tad Gormley Stadium and Popp Fountain. During the time of WPA funding, Alferez created the central Benches with Figures (1932) which placed insects and animals he saw in the area under the art deco benches. Also created during this time were the Satyrs on Poles (1932) which placed mythological creatures atop sculptural poles depicting woodland creatures.

At the center of the Parterre stands the Shriever Fountain (1932) with the Water Maiden sculpture. The fountain contains the interesting inscription 'Mrs. Gerard Shriever to the Memory of Herself and Loved Ones.' The sculpture is unique in that it contains Alferez's name- he usually did not sign his works. Flanking the fountain are two bass relief sculptures- Reclining Nude and Reclining Nude eating Grapes. The Parterre also contains two small fountains, each with a small art deco sculpture depicting a Magnolia bud.

When the garden was enclosed in the early 1980s, Enrique Alferez was located and commissioned to restore these original works and to create several new works. The Grass Gates (1982) were placed at the garden's original main entrance. The Sundial (1983) was placed at the center of the Benches with Figures. With the expansion of the garden in the mid 1990s, Alferez was again commissioned, this time creating the largest of the sculptures in the garden- the Flute Player (1995) which was placed in a restored fountain. Also placed in the garden was Woman in a Huipil (1981).

The last sculpture placed into the garden was Renascence (1998) placed in the border to the west of the Pavilion just a year before the artist's death. With this final sculpture, Alferez's contribution spanned nearly 70 years.

In addition to these works, a few works by other sculptors are placed throughout the garden-- most notably Undine (1942, Rose Marie Huth) at the entrance to the conservatory, and Children on a Glide (1962, Jean Sidenberg) in the Palm Garden.

Enrique Alférez