SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — She was born in 1887 and worked for most of her life on a plantation near Natchitoches, and this now-famous artist didn’t even pick up a brush to begin painting until the 1940s.
As Clementine Hunter worked on her paintings at night, she concentrated on subjects that are common to many Americans: funerals, baptisms, cemeteries, going to church, washing clothes, picnics, long workdays, and southern summers.
Her work hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She was literally the first Black artist to have her own show at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
And though Hunter has passed away, her work is so admired that temporary art shows featuring her work pop up across the country and give new generations the opportunity to fall in love with southern landscapes and subjects painted in bright, cheery colors.
Jill Leo, the director of Main Street Natchitoches, gave KTAL a glimpse of Hunter’s paintings and explained why Natchitoches is perfect for visitors year-round.
But one wouldn’t expect to find an entire wall filled with Hunter’s paintings at a sports museum in Louisiana. Yet that’s exactly what you’ll see at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, where 12 of the folk artist’s original paintings are on display.
Ten of those 12 paintings are concerned with life on the Melrose Plantation, which you can also visit while you’re in town.
Located at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches, the museum hours are Tues. – Sat., 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. They’re closed on state holidays.
For more information about the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, check out this article published by Smithsonian Magazine.