Edith began to collect Modern Art in the early 1960s with her first acquisition a Wassily Kandinsky painting she hung in the Blue Room. She soon sought the guidance of her friend, artist Lillian Florsheim, and son-in-law, Thomas B. Hess, a respected art scholar, to help develop her collection.

On an art excursions to Denise Rene’s Parisian gallery, Florsheim introduced Edith to artist Victor Vasarely. The Longue Vue collection contains many works by Vasarely, a testament to the friendship that he and Edith Stern enjoyed and an indication of the personal nature of this collection. Edith’s love of art and this collection is also about the act of creating more than who created. As can be seen in the room where the work of her grandchildren hangs beside the work of more known individuals.

The collection is composed of a variety of artists working in early 20th century especially works in the Op and Kinetic styles. Among the modern artists represented here are Jaacov Agam, Jean Arp, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Robert Michel, Pablo Picasso, Jésus Soto and Victory Vasarely. Local artist Lin Emery’s aquamobile Arabesque can be seen in the Spanish Court. As Edith’s interest in art grew so she incorporated it into her philanthropic work, becoming a trustee at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Throughout her tenure she gave funding for an auditorium and over ninety-five works of art to the museum.

Edith asked the Platts, the home’s architects, to re-design a room to help showcase her growing collection and in 1964 the original open air porch on the east side of the home was turned into the Modern Art Gallery. Black floor tiles, white silk wall covering, modern light fixtures and air conditioning were added at this time. In her later years, Edith liked to serve café brûlot in this room after dinner instead of the Drawing Room.


Little known and even less seen are the archival holdings of Longue Vue House and Gardens. With approximately 40,000 items, the archives are open for research by appointment with the Curatorial Department. Contact Lenora Costa by email at or by phone at (504) 293-4712 to request an appointment.

The holdings fall into three categories:

  • Personal photos, letters, and various ephemera of the family members who lived within the home during its occupancy

  • Approximately 25,000-item collection relating to the physical site of Longue Vue, which provides a detailed record of the construction, landscaping, and furnishing of the estate with drawings by Ellen Biddle Shipman and the Platt brothers

  • Documents pertaining to projects and civic engagements of the Sterns, which included civil rights and African American education, the reform of municipal government in New Orleans and Louisiana, the urban development of New Orleans through the public and commercial projects of the Sterns, the history of financiers and philanthropists in America, and numerous arts and music organization.

1928 Tuskegee Institute Board of Trustees. Seen here are Longue Vue family members Edgar B. Stern (fifth from the right) and his father-in-law Julius Rosenwald (fifth from the left).