M.S. Rau Antiques exhibit celebrates New Orleans’ tricentennial

Bien Etre Austrian porcelain vase (left) and ‘The Shepherdess’ by William Adolphe Bouguereau. M.S. Rau Antiques ‘Vice & Virtue’ exhibition. M.S. Rau images

NEW ORLEANS – In honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial, M.S. Rau Antiques will present “Vice & Virtue: An Exhibition of Sex, Saints & Sin.” The new show, which will explore the universal and timeless struggle between virtue and vice, is free and open to the public beginning April 7 to June 9 at the gallery at 630 Royal St. The exhibit, like the city itself, promises to delight and shock the visitor.

To celebrate the city’s 300 years, curator Rebecca Rau has put together a unique exhibit that exemplifies the rich history, diversity, cultural traditions and resilience of the city. “Vice & Virtue” will feature fine art and rare objects from across history, from torture masks to Brueghel masterpieces.

The new exhibit, which features over 50 pieces of art, antiques and historical items valued at over $15 million, will give a nod to New Orleans’ heritage and its infamous culture of celebration, indulgence and excess and include depictions of the pious and pure, alongside voyeurs and seductresses.

“Since the beginning, New Orleans has been filled with piety and decadence; it is a city that thrives on extremes,” said Rau, a fourth-generation antique dealer. “It is this dichotomy of differences that make this city all that it is, from the magnificent churches to the rowdiness of Mardi Gras, it is a place that both inspires and amazes.”