GARYVILLE LA ~ Todd Cutrer of Port Allen is a collector of things he likes and things he finds unique, whether it be a replica Faberge egg or an original oil painting of a Louisiana plantation. Thus, late last year, Cutrer and his wife Carolyn donated an original oil painting of San Francisco Plantation, painted by Louisiana artist Al Federico, to the house it depicts. The painting, valued at $48,000 by Cutrer, now hangs in the dining room of the 160-year-old house located on River Road in Garyville.
“The call came out of the blue” said Kim Fontenot, general manager of the plantation. “I picked up the phone and it was this very nice gentleman offering to give us this beautiful painting of our plantation. The only thing he asked for in return was to let people know he had donated it.”
Fontenot said a plaque is on order, which will commemorate Cutrer’s donation. She said it is the estate’s only original oil painting of the house, often described as “Steamboat Gothic” because of its elaborate gingerbread trim painted in pastel colors.
“Kim’s reaction is exactly what I wanted to have happen” Cutrer said. “She was just giddy about it.?”
Cutrer said he obtained the painting in the early 1990s after seeing a framed print of the artwork for sale. He contacted Federico, who lived in Metairie at the time, to ask about purchasing the original work. Federico told Cutrer the painting had been sold to the woman who was making the prints.
Cutrer contacted her and negotiated a price to buy the painting. He says the painting today could fetch $48,000 or more at auction.
“I’ve always been a guy that likes things that are one-of-a-kind or different” Cutrer said. “I saw pictures of the plantation that were framed and matted and I said “There’s got to be an original somewhere.”
Cutrer also has owned the original Federico paintings of Nottoway and Rosedown plantations. He has since donated the Nottoway painting to the estate in White Castle, but state regulations prevent him from donating the Rosedown painting to its namesake since it is owned by the state museum system.
“I’m not about a dollar” Cutrer said. I’ve always felt that, once I’ve enjoyed it and the time has come to part with it, it should go back where it belongs.