76048: CLEMENTINE HUNTER (American, 1886-1988) Black Ch
Oil on board
24 x 10-1/4 inches (61.0 x 26.0 cm)
Initialed lower right: CH
In 1900, Clementine Hunter moved with her family to the Melrose Plantation on the Cane River, outside Natchitoches, Louisiana. Melrose soon became a haven for many artists and writers including Alberta Kinsey, Francois Mignon, and Lyle Saxon. At the age of 54, Clementine Hunter was encouraged by visiting artists to try painting artworks herself. She used leftover paints and began "marking pictures" on any surface she could find - old bottles, cardboard scraps, and even brown paper bags. Her works told the story of plantation life from daily activities to special occasions. One of Louisiana's most celebrated folk artists, Clementine Hunter's paintings can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of American Folk Art in New York; the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; the Oprah Winfrey Collection in Chicago; and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
These works by Clementine Hunter include some of her most popular and recognizable subjects. Black Christ on Cross, in particular, is among her most coveted works. Hunter often favored religious scenes in her art - going to church, baptisms, funerals, and weddings. She also painted works based on biblical texts such as the Nativity and the Crucifixion. Her depictions of the Crucifixion featuring black religious figures are some of her most powerful works. Of one of her Crucifixions, Hunter said, "That's Black Jesus. . . . I don't know if [he is] black or white . . . nearly everybody says 'Black Jesus' so I thought I'd make him black like."
Alternate Artist Spellings: "Hunter, Clementine"