POSTED: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 8:04am
Baton Rouge, La — Louisiana’s fascination with self-taught primitive artist Clementine Hunter is unquestioned. In a new book, published by LSU Press, and written by Tom Whitehead and Art Shiver, Hunter’s art and life on Melrose and Little Eva plantations are shared through valuable research and historical writing. Hunter’s work is now famous with works in many national museums, including the Smithsonian.
The two Louisiana authors will present a lecture and sign the book on February 21 at the Old Governor’s Mansion. The Foundation for Historical Louisiana-sponsored event is part of its monthly Heritage Lecture Series open to FHL members for free and $10 for guests. The public is invited to attend.
The book took ten years of research and writing before its September publication by LSU Press. When the authors began their research, Shiver worked at a television station in Shreveport and Whitehead was a journalism professor at Northwestern State University. The book is based on many sources, particularly those of Francois Mignon, who lived 37 years at Melrose and recognized the importance of Clementine and her paintings.
Whitehead and Shiver will share much about Hunter and her life, including insights into the beginning of her art, her life on the plantations, and beyond Melrose. The majority of Hunter’s 20th century painting “stories” included the unique plantation culture of Natchitoches and other Louisiana towns. They depict cotton picking on Little Eva to cooking and housekeeping at Melrose. Many books have been written about Hunter, including another by the authors, Clementine Hunter: The African House Murals.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with refreshments sponsored by Calandro’s Fine Cellars and the lecture follows at 6:30 p.m. in the East Room of the mansion.