John Burton Harter received a film tribute along with George Dureau during the Saints + Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival 2021.
In the film, Kenneth Holditch, Professor Emeritus of University of New Orleans, discusses Harter, his art, and the artistic scene of New Orleans with Lawrence Henry Gobble, board president of the Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival and one of Harter’s models.
“Both Paul Cadmus and Harter were expert draftsmen,” Holditch said. “Particularly in Harter’s work — and it’s what I admire in his draftsmanship — is this tiny meticulous pen work… It’s done, you can tell, with love and care and put together in such a way as to be a real work of art.”
The film tribute also features Charles Leslie, co-founder of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, in conversation with Brian Sands, writer and advisor to the John Burton Harter Foundation. Both men knew Harter personally. Leslie recalled meeting Harter in 1969, the start of a friendship that endured for the rest of Harter’s life.
“Burt and I hit it off very well together,” Leslie said. “I was rather charmed by his slightly funky Southern accent. And also, I loved his work.”
Leslie edited The Drawings of J. B. Harter. The Leslie-Lohman Museum also created an exhibition with Harter’s work in 1998 and a solo show in 2001.
“He was thrilled about having a show in New York,” Leslie recalled. “I think it was one of the steps in his process of coming out to himself and the world.”
The tribute includes an array of Harter’s paintings, drawings, and reflections in his own words. It concludes with a mini-documentary, George Dureau: New Orleans Artist.
Every year, the Saints + Sinners LGTBQ Literary Festival showcases LGBTQ writers and attracts literary enthusiasts for panels, performances, and readings in New Orleans.
Watch on YouTube and below.