The Ogden Museum of Southern Art Announces the New Orleans launch of "Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art"

This month, the University of New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art announces the New Orleans launch of Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art, written by Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead and published by Louisiana State University Press. The book is the first comprehensive biography of this self-taught artist, said Sue Strachan, spokeswoman for the Ogden Museum.

The book signing will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Ogden Museum, 925 Camp St., New Orleans. The event will take place during Ogden After Hours featuring a performance by Shovels and Rope.  The book signing is free. Admission to Ogden After Hours is free to museum members. General admission is $10.

In the book, Shiver and Whitehead explore Hunter’s life and reveal the Louisiana painter's impact on the modern art world, Strachan said. Using found objects including glass snuff bottles, ironing boards and window shades and painting on canvas, the African-American folk artist produced between 5,000 to 10,000 paintings during her lifetime. The African House mural depicted the grounds of Melrose Plantation, where Hunter lived and worked. Hunter's paintings reflected the life around her on the plantation—cotton planting and harvesting, washdays, weddings and baptisms, Strachan said

Hunter's artwork depicting plantation life documented life after the Civil War. Early paintings sold for as little as 25 cents, but by the end of her life, Hunter’s work appeared in museums and was sold by dealers for thousands of dollars. In 1986, Hunter was granted an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Northwestern State University of Louisiana, a University of Louisiana system university that is located in Nachitoches, just north of Melrose Plantation.

The book also discusses a forgery operation that Whitehead helped to uncover, said Strachan. Attention drawn to decades of fraud reinforced the uniqueness of Hunter's art and confirmed her place in the international art community, which continues find inspiration through Hunter’s life and work, Strachan said.