JANUARY 13, 2016

Arizona Capitol Museum sends portrait print from Merci Train to daughter of artist

Genevieve Noufflard to receive a print of her mother’s work December 19 in Paris

PHOENIX – From the American Revolution through World War II to the recent bombings in Paris, the U.S. and France have shared a unique relationship. This December 19, the Arizona Capitol Museum will present a print of “Portrait of an Italian Lady” by celebrated French artist Berthe Noufflard to her daughter, Genevieve. The presentation will take place at the Galerie de la Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris at 1:30 p.m.  

“It is with great pleasure the Arizona Capitol Museum is able to share the print of Maria Luisa Peano’s portrait with the French people,” said Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, whose office oversees the AZCM. “Through the efforts of the AZCM and institutions like it, we are able to preserve, protect and share the history of our nations with future generations.”  

The original portrait will be on display at the AZCM in Phoenix Saturday, December 19 through mid-May. The painting was a gift to the people of Arizona as part of Arizona’s Merci Train. In addition to the painting, an assortment of other gifts from Arizona’s box car is on display.   The Merci Train was a convoy of 49 boxcars sent by a World War I French veterans’ organization in 1949 to the people of the U.S. It is believed that the main purpose was to thank Americans for the Friendship Train, a 1947 U.S. relief effort spearheaded by Drew Pearson. The people of France were asked to contribute donations to fill the box cars.

The Merci Train carried many various expressions of gratitude; from many painted and sculpted works of art, china, fashion, posters and written letters. Many letters contained references to the assistance provided by the U.S. during both World Wars I and II. The box car is still intact and can be seen at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale.  

The presentation of the portrait print coincides with the 30th anniversary of André and Berthe Noufflard Foundation biennial painting contest. The foundation, started by Genevieve and her sister, Henriette (Noufflard) Guy-Loë, helps to sponsor up and coming painters in their craft. This year 17 artists were chosen for the award. More information on the foundation is available online at www.noufflard.com.  

The AZCM is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information about AZCM exhibits, or to schedule a tour, go online to www.azlibrary.gov/azcm or call 602-926-3620.  

The AZCM is a branch of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State.