NEW ORLEANS, LA - The Ogden Museum of Southern Art announces the acquisition of three major works by the famed Louisiana painter Clementine Hunter (1886 –1988). The first addition is entitled “Flowing River” – one of the largest known works by the artist. The second is a rare piece, “Cotton to Gin and Baptism,” that is painted back to back. Of note, on the work’s reverse side, “Baptism” features a seldom seen palette of pinks, vivid yellows, red and white. Local collectors Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino donated the paintings to the museum.
“The other Clementine Hunter works at this scale and significance are installed at African House at Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, La.,” says Ogden Director J. Richard Gruber. “This donation by Dr. Jerry and Carolyn Fortino makes these important works accessible to a larger public for the first time.”
These unknown works are an important addition to the museum’s holdings of Hunter’s work, which also includes "A Funeral at Isle Brevelle" from the Roger Houston Ogden Collection. She became the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art and was invited to the White House by President Jimmy Carter.
Dr. Fortino vividly remembers acquiring Flowing River at an auction 39 years ago. “We bought it in 1970,” recalls Fortino. “We drove to Natchitoches and bought an olive jar, a quilt and a giant 8-foot-tall Clementine Hunter. During the auction I raised my hand up and didn’t put it down.”Hunter was born at Hidden Hill plantation, near Cloutierville, Louisiana. She lived and worked in Northwest Louisiana at Melrose Plantation, which had become an artist colony directed by Francois Mignon. Using paints left behind by visiting artists, Hunter began to create her own work in 1939. Her paintings were often small, usually no larger than 18” by 24”. Her subject was the daily life on Melrose Plantation. Hunter utilized all sorts of discarded items as a canvas, including bottles, cardboard and gourds. Visit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art at : http://www.ogdenmuseum.org/