The Louisiana Research Collection has loaned a full set of twenty float plates from the Krewe of Proteus 1904 “The Alphabet” parade to the New Orleans Museum of art for its exhibit “Bror Anders Wikstrom: Bringing Fantasy to Carnival.” This is a very rare opportunity to see every float design from a single parade. The exhibit will be on view from December 14, 2017 through April 1, 2018.
NOMA's exhibit also showcases LaRC costume and float designs from 1898 and 1910 as well as selections from LaRC's image collection showing photographs of the completed designs. Designer Bror Anders Wikstrom (1854–1909), elevated the extravaganza of carnival through his fantastical designs for early Mardi Gras krewes, serving as the chief designer behind twenty floats and hundreds of costumes with Rex, and then with Proteus. Bringing Fantasy to Carnival shows watercolor sketches for the elaborate floats and costumes that allowed otherworldly stories to come to life on the streets of New Orleans. The exhibition shows Wikstrom’s designs as early sketches, as final design plates, and as illustrated in newspaper parade bulletins. Photographs show how these creations looked rolling through the streets on Mardi Gras day.
The Louisiana Research Collection preserves more than 5,500 original float and costume designs from Golden Age of Carnival, and it has put them all online here.
Image: "D is for Dragon" from the 1904 Proteus alphbet parade. Click here to see the beautiful colors and stunning detail.