Clementine Hunter Art Exhibition

Clementine Hunter’s unique vision explored in new Louisiana State Museum exhibit

Patterson, LA – The life and work of one Louisiana’s best known and most-loved artists are explored in Clementine Hunter: Plantation Life a comprehensive new exhibition at the Louisiana State Museum here.

The exhibition opens Thursday, October 1 at 5:30 PM with a gala reception hosted by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu andthe Louisiana State Museum, Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Foundation boards of directors.

With more than 60 paintings and other decorated objects, most of them loaned from private collections, Clementine Hunter: Plantation Life is one of the largest exhibitions of her work in recent years. The show presents Hunter’s intimate views of plantation life, the daily rhythms of domestic and agricultural work punctuated by memorable occasions like marriage, funeral, the birth of a child, or fishing trips on Cane River.

Clementine Hunter (pronounced Clem-en-teen) was born in December 1886 near Marco, Louisiana, in the Cane River region of Natchitoches Parish. From 1900 until her death in 1988, she lived at Melrose Plantation. The owners, John and Carmelita (Cammie) Henry, were passionate supporters of art and literature and encouraged Hunter to pursue her creative ability.

During her early years as an artist, Hunter would paint by the light of a kerosene lamp while caring for her sick husband. When canvas was not available, she painted on whatever was at hand. Cardboard, shoebox covers, window shades, bottles, purses, picnic baskets, coal buckets, plastic milk bottles, and a range of other media bear her mark.

By the late 1940s, Hunter’s reputation as an artist began to grow. In 1955 the Delgado Museum (now the New Orleans Museum of Art) sponsored a one-person exhibition, the museum’s first solo show featuring an African American artist. She was the focus of a Look magazinearticle entitled “Innocence Regained,” published in 1961. Like Grandma Moses, Clementine Hunter had captured the popular imagination.

On exhibit at the Patterson museum are works in varied media from the collections of Anne and Jack Brittain, and Thomas Whitehead. The collectors are from Natchitoches and knew the artist personally.

Clementine Hunter: Plantation Life will be on view through January 9, 2010. Located at 118 Cotten Road (at Highway 90) in Kemper Williams Park, the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission also includes the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill exhibits. For information, call 985.399.1268

Founded in 1906, the Louisiana State Museum collects, preserves and interprets Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage from pre-historic times to the present through more than 450,000 objects and works of art. The Museum is part of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which is overseen by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. For more information, visit http://lsm.crt.state.la.us.