Monday, February 9, 2009

Flowing River in Dixie

As noted in an earlier entry, the Ogden Museum was recently gifted a magnificent painting, Flowing River, by Louisiana folk artist, Clementine Hunter. The 1950 painting is 93 x 28 inches, making it one of the largest known works by this highly regarded artist. In the vintage image of Francois Mignon above, one can glimpse the work above his desk in the Yucca House on Melrose Plantation. This image was found by Tom Whitehead in an October 1957 issue of Dixie Magazine, a now all but forgotten Sunday insert of the Times Picayune. Mr. Whitehead is an author, scholar, collector and friend of the late Clementine Hunter. As an undergraduate at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches from 1964 until 1967, he met Clementine, developed a friendship with her, and began collecting her work. Today his is one of the more important Hunter collections in the world, and he is widely recognized as a leading scholar on Hunter, her works, and the community of Cane River. He was instrumental in establishing the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Cane River National Heritage Area in the 1990s. He co-authored, with Art Shiver, Clementine Hunter: The Africa House Murals in 2005, and is currently working with Mr. Shiver on a biography of the artist.

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