The Old Print Shop

Louis Orr


Louis Orr was an American etcher from Hartford, Connecticut. He studied at the Hartford Art School, Academie Julian in Paris and then the Art Students League in New York. Orr was so enamored with Paris, he returned just a few years after he left and would ultimately spend a sizable portion of his life either visiting or living there. During World War I, Orr served as an official artist in the French Army. The etchings he produced of Rheims Cathedrals (all the while under fire from German artillery) brought him international fame and helped launch his artistic career. He was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Legion of Honor in 1918 and an Officer in 1930.  When the Louvre purchased a number of his prints, some of those produced during the war were included. 

Always busy creating, Orr produced a number of beautiful portfolios while in the U.S. "Ports of America" was published by Yale University Press in 1928 and contained fourteen etchings. The "Wesleyan University" portfolio, containing eight etchings, was published the same year. During the 1930s, Orr was commissioned by the Princeton University Press to produce the "Princeton University" portfolio of seven etchings. Perhaps his longest stint in the US since he was a child came in 1940. An arrangement with Robert Humber brought him to North Carolina where, over the course of twelve years, he produced a series of fifty etchings celebrating the state's history and culture. These plates included scenes of historic sites, landscapes, houses, and plantations. Upon completion Orr once again divided his time between his hometown of Hartford and Paris. He passed away in Paris in 1961 and was buried alongside his wife in Nimes, France.

Orr's work can be found in museums around the world.