Jean-Louis Dolliole was a well-known figure in the early 19th century cultural and social life of New Orleans. Born in Haiti in 1770, Dolliole was an enterprising entrepreneur who earned his fortune through various means, including trading, merchandising and shipping.
Although he initially pursued business opportunities abroad, Dolliole eventually returned to New Orleans to become an important contributor to the city’s cultural development. His philanthropy and commitment to education were widely celebrated; he helped fund schools, churches and other public causes throughout the city. He also served as Secretary of State for Louisiana from 1815-
The work of Jean-Louis Dolliole also made him a prominent figure among art collectors in New Orleans near the end of the 18th century. His passion for collecting art spurred him to gather works from around Europe and America in both his home and warehouse galleries. Dolliole became particularly associated with French art from this time period; his collecting activities focused largely on acquiring works by artists such as Jacques-Louis David, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Theodore Géricault, François Gérard and Eugène Delacroix.
Dolliole's extensive personal collection, which included both European and American paintings, sculptures, drawings and engravings, was sold at auction after his death in 1820 - a year before the opening of The Warehouse venue that would come to house some of New Orleans' most influential music performances over the next four decades.