The Orr Etchings

Orr Etchings

Orr Etchings

E. H. Little Library is home to a complete collection of the Etchings on North Carolina by Louis Orr.  Orr was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1879.  He attended Hartford Art School, furthered his studies with the Art Students League in New York, and finally moved to Paris in 1906 to study at l’Academie Julian.  During his time there, Orr made a name for himself with his large, atmospheric etchings of Paris.  He eventually became known as the premiere American etcher and was the first living artist to ever have an etching purchased by the Louvre.

While in Paris during the 1930s, Orr became friends with Robert L. Humber, a native of Greenville, North Carolina.  Humber proposed that Orr execute a series of etchings depicting North Carolina’s famous architectural and historical sites.  These etchings of public school buildings, churches, private residences, and scenic views around the state were selected for their historical, architectural, or geological significance.  With Orr’s help, Humber hoped to preserve North Carolina’s heritage by offering affordable art to schools, colleges, public libraries, and individuals.

Orr produced 50 etchings of a uniform size (13’’x16’’) and one larger work (20’’x16.5’’) of the State Capitol Building in Raleigh.  The State Capital Building and our old Chambers Building were both designed by Alexander Jackson Davis.  Orr began work on the series in 1939 and completed it in 1952.  One of the etchings in the series is of Davidson College’s own Eumenean Literary Society Hall.

This collection was given to E. H. Little Library by Mr. Thomas F. Staley, Class of 1925.  All 51 etchings are located on the first floor of the library on the back wall of the Center for Teaching and Learning.  Pamphlets listing the etchings, and the order in which they are hung, can be found at the far end of the wall next to the etching of the State Capital Building.  Please stop by and take a look!

Works Cited

Etchings on North Carolina. Davidson, NC: Davidson College.

Humber, John L. “Louis Orr Etchings.” NCPEDIA. 2006.  State Library of North Carolina. 27 September 2013.

“Louis Orr.” Gallery C. 27 September 2013.

“Louis Orr (1879-1961): Biography.” Gallery C. 27 September 2013.

About Denise Sherrill

Assistant Director for Operations, Finance, & Facilities [Read More...]