In 1970, the great vocalist Tony Bennett created a beautiful oil portrait of one of his musical heroes, Louis Armstrong. He presented it to Louis personally, and Louis replied, "Man, you out-Rembrandted Rembrandt!" Today, Bennett's portrait still hangs in the den of Louis Armstrong's house, which is a historic house museum visited by people from all over the world. While on tour, visitors to the Louis Armstrong House Museum hear an audio recording of Louis speaking about the painting and about his friend "Benedetto" (Tony Bennett's birth name).
Now, forty-two years later, Tony Bennett has painted a new portrait of Louis Armstrong.
Tony has graciously donated the new painting to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, to be auctioned off on Charitybuzz.com, the leading destination for online charity auctions, to raise funds for the Museum. The oil painting depicts Armstrong performing on his gold-plated Selmer trumpet. In the lower right corner is Bennett's signature, "Benedetto."
The Charitybuzz.com auction of the new portrait was open for bidding online at http://charitybuzz.s3.amazonaws.com/emails/email_louisarmstrong_blast.html from February 1st until February 29th, 2012. Both Tony Bennett's original painting of Louis and his new painting will be on exhibit together during the month of February, 2012 at the Louis Armstrong House Museum until the close of the auction, giving museum visitors the rare opportunity to see both paintings together before the auctioned painting ends up with a private collector.
"Tony Bennett has given the Museum an incredible gift," noted Michael Cogswell, Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. "These two paintings together will be a real treat for our visitors in addition to the financial support the auction of the painting will provide," he added.
Proceeds from the auction will underwrite historic house tours, concerts, and community programs at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark in Corona, Queens, New York City. It is open six days per week, 52 weeks per year, and is visited by more than 12,000 people annually. All of its furnishings are original and have been preserved, giving visitors the feeling that Louis and Lucille just stepped out for a minute.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum, which is administered by Queens College, also holds seven collections of photographs, sound recordings, letters, manuscripts, instruments and artifacts, making it the largest publicly held archival collection in the world devoted to a jazz musician. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a 501(c)(3) cultural organization.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th Avenue in Corona, Queens and online at www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org