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Catalog Data

Attributed to:
Clementine Hunter, American, ca. 1886 - 1988  Search this
Subject of:
Melrose Plantation, American, founded 1832  Search this
oil paint on fiberboard
H x W x D (painting): 16 × 24 × 1/4 in. (40.6 × 61 × 0.6 cm)
H x W (framed): 22 × 33 1/2 in. (55.9 × 85.1 cm)
oil paintings
Place depicted:
Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States, North and Central America
Hunter had no formal art training and only began painting in her fifties. She spent most of her life on the Melrose Plantation in Louisiana, picking cotton and collecting pecans. Later she worked inside, cleaning houses and washing clothes. Once she did begin painting, she was quite prolific. It is believed that she produced several thousand works
An oil painting depicting a scene of pastoral life in Louisiana. A white church with green-trimmed doors and windows is featured prominently in the center of the canvas. The area behind the church is interspersed with trees, and the sky behind the church and trees is a variegation of blue, white and rose colors in broad, horizontal brushstrokes. A procession of figures walk along a prominent diagonal line leading from the church steps to the lower left-hand corner of the painting. At the head of the procession are two figures in black robes, wearing black head coverings and white collars. Behind them are five smaller figures dressed in white dresses and veils. Under the church and the procession of figures is a broad line of brown paint, separating this scene from another scene in the lower right-hand corner. In the lower scene, a woman is featured prominently at lower-center, wearing a vivid orange dress and a black hat with flowers. She is kneeling, hands clasped, next to a body of water. Two figures in black robes and head coverings and white collars are shown waist-deep in the water, holding between them a person wearing a white dress and veil. The painting is signed "CH" (but with the "C" reversed) at the bottom right, above the figures in the water.
African American  Search this
American South  Search this
Art  Search this
Christianity  Search this
Religion  Search this
Rural life  Search this
The Black Church  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Rand and Dana Jack family, in honor of Rand's grandmother, Blythe Rand, who early recognized and supported the special talents of Clementine Hunter
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Cane River Art Corporation
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture