Examples of authentic early works by Clementine Hunter
circa 1940s, 1950s, and Early to Mid-1960s, including a rare window-shade painting

The paintings on this page were part of the collection of Blythe White Rand of Alexandria, Louisiana,
and were given to her by Clementine Hunter many years ago on Melrose Plantation.
Mrs. Rand subsequently gave the paintings to her three grandsons, Whitfield, Rand, and Robert Jack.
The works noted below were later donated to the
Smithsonian National African American Museum.
by her grandson, Rand Jack, and his wife, Dana Crowley Jack.

Her grandson, Whitfield Jack, still owns the painting, "Canasta Players" (shown on this page)
and was the owner of Clementine's landmark paintinng,
"Bowl of Zinnias", the subject of this website.

For more information about the history of these paintings and to read the
story of Clementine Hunter's first oil painting, "Bowl of Zinnias"
Please click here

 COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
ALL IMAGES AND MATERIALS ON THIS PAGE, AS WELL AS ON ALL LINKED PAGES, ARE COPYRIGHTED PROPERTIES.
Reproduction in any form is prohibited by law and will be enforced


 


Window Shade -- c.1950s
Oil on canvas shade
35" x 40"
The window shade painting at left is one of Clementine Hunter's earliest paintings and was given by the artist to Blythe White Rand of Alexandria, Louisiana near Melrose.
Mrs. Rand and her husband, Dr. Paul King Rand, owned a fishing camp on Melrose Plantation, the land for the camp having been leased to them in the early 1940s by Cammie Henry, owner of Melrose. Clementine Hunter lived just a short distance from the fishing camp and became a friend of Mrs. Rand and her grandchildren.
Clementine Hunter's early paintings were done with left-over tubes of oil paint left at Melrose by the many artists who visited there, and Mrs. Rand helped provide Clementine with window shades and canvas boards to use for her work.
Oddly enough, once Clementine had finished the paintings, she seemed to have no use for them and usually just gave them back to Mrs. Rand as gifts.
The paintings on this page are the result of that mutual generosity and form a collection of works that have only recently been seen.
They were given by Mrs. Rand to her three grandsons, Whitfield, Rand, and Robert Jack

 This painting was donated by the family to the Smithsonian African American Museum and is now in their permanent collection
Click to See

Close-up Signature
Detail: Top Left Detail: Top Right

Detail: Bottom Left

Detail: Bottom Right

Framed in Case Behind Glass
(Note: The painting has some mildew)

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"Milking Time" -- 1940s
Oil on canvas board
15-1/2" x 10-1/2"

"Milking Time" was one of the early Clementine paintings that was shown in the Saturday Gallery Exhibition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1952, and, along with "Bowl of Zinnias", photographed in Look Magazine in 1953 (see links below). The signature is unusual in that it appears to be drawn rather than painted, which , along with the style of the painting,would indicate a date in the mid or early 1940s.
When Whitfield Jack Jr.'s grandmother, who originally owned the painting, asked Clementine why the cow had only three legs, Clementine gave her a perfectly good reason: She said that the milking stool only needed three legs, so the cow only needed three legs. Notice that there is a cowbird sitting on top of the cow's head waiting for a passing bug. The cow is remarkable in that it is able to rotate one eye up and to the right to inspect the cowbird while rotating the other eye down and to the left to supervise the milking. (See "Detail Cow" below.)

This painting was donated by the family to the Smithsonian African American Museum and is now in their permanent collection.
Click to See

Close-up Signature 
Detail: Man and Boy Detail: Cow
Look Magazine Saturday Gallery


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"Washday" -- c.1950s
Oil on rigid pasteboard
24" x 24"

Clementine Hunter's sense of perspective, while primitive in its execution, is one of the delightful aspects of her paintings. Here in this early oil painting, one of the figures seems to be hanging on the line along with the wash. And in the lower right, the pot of boiling lye-soap, while actually at the end of a short path, seems to be balanced on an upright fulcrum. Notice, in the back under a tree, a man (probably relieved to be avoiding wash-day chores) is apparently slugging down a bottle of wine.
The painting was given as a gift by Clementine to Blythe Rand and was bequeathed to her grandson.

This painting was donated by the family to
the Smithsonian African American Museum and is now in their permanent collection
Click to See

Close-up Signature
Detail: Top Left Detail: Top Right

Detail: Bottom Left

Detail: Bottom Right


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"Gone Fishing" c.1950s
Oil on rigid pasteboard
23-1/2" x 15-1/2"


In this charming oil painting, Clementine Hunter depicts a day on Cane River with everybody fishing in their Sunday best. Notice that in every case but one, the man is doing the fishing and the wife is doing the supervising.
From the porch of the Rand family's camp,
"Happy Landing", this was a scene that could be witnessed almost any day of the week.
The painting was given as a gift by Clementine to Blythe Rand and passed on into the hands of her grandson.

This painting was donated by the family to
the Smithsonian African American Museum and is now in their permanent collection.
Click to See

Close-up Signature
Detail: Top Left Detail: Top Right

Detail: Bottom Left

Detail: Bottom Right


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"Baptizing with Lady in Orange Dress"
c.Late 1950s -- Early 1960s
Oil on rigid pasteboard
24" x 15-1/2"


The mysterious lady in the orange dress appears from time to time in Clementine Hunter's work. Whether it is the same lady or not is unknown. But, where she appears, she invariably appears alone. No one else seems to dare to wear the same dress in the same painting! (See window-shade painting at top of page.)
These baptizings often took place in the backwaters of Cane River near Dr. and Mrs. Rand's fishing camp. Movies of the baptisms taken yeas ago by Dr. Rand have sadly been lost.
"Baptizing with Lady in Orange Dress" was a gift from Clementine Hunter to her friend, Blythe Rand, and from there passed into the ownership of Blythe Rand's grandsons.

This painting was donated by the family to the Smithsonia African American Museum and
is now in their permanent collection.
Click to See

Close-up Signature
Detail: Top Left Detail: Bottom Right


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"Hoeing Corn" c.1950s
Oil on rigid pasteboard
23" x 15-1/2"


Hoeing corn is a rare subject in Clementine Hunter's paintings compared to picking cotton and picking pecans. What the lady on the lower left is doing is anybody's guess (see Detail: Left). She could be picking corn worms off the ears and putting them in a jar. Or, more likely, delivering a mug of beer.
The painting was given as a gift by Clementine to Blythe Rand and was bequeathed to her grandsons.

This painting was donated by the family to the
Smithsonian African American Museum and is
now in their permanent collection.
Click to See

Close-up Signature
Detail: Left Detail: Right


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"Going to Church" c.Early 1950s
Oil on rigid pasteboard
23" x 19"


Across Cane River from the Rand family's fishing camp, was the church seen so often in Clementine Hunter's paintings (also seen above in the painting "Baptizing with Lady in Orange Dress").
  The painting at left is unusual in that it shows two churchgoers arriving by boat, which was the very way some people did arrived during Clementine's day. Dr. Rand occasionally ferried a few of the local parishioners to the bank near the church in his lumbering old all-steel, very-slow "speed" boat.
Although Clementine Hunter painted and signed the painting with her initials"CH", the inscription, "Going To Church" (or possibly "Goong To Church") was tainly done with guidance, since she could not read or write

 This painting was donated by the family to the Smithsonian African American Museum and is now in their permanent collection
Click to See

Close-up Signature

Detail


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"Canasta Players" c. Beginning or Mid-1960s
(Click "Authentication" below)
Oil on Upson Board
24" x 16"

My grandmother, who was a lady of small stature, was a great canasta fan and often played cards with Miss Cammie at Melrose. Clementine portrayed her here almost the size of a child. Notce that there is no glass or bottle of wine in front of her. She was a devout Methodist, and public inbibing was taboo. But life on the plantation was hard, and Grandmother always brought Clementine a small bottle of what Clermentine referred to as her "cough medicine."

Why the figure in the center has no chair and seems to be floating in mid-air, is a mystery. Clementine had a wry sense of humor, so your guess is as good as mine. I remember sitting in her front yard when she spotted a group of tourists approaching, and she practically yanked me with her into the house. When the visitors knocked on the door, then started banging on it, Clementine said in as gruff a voice as she could manage ...
"Nobody home."

 Note: This painting is currently the property of Whitfield Jack, and was given to him by his grandmother, Blythe White Rand, the original owner.
Read about her friendship with Clementine

Authentication Enlargement
Close-up Signature

 Detail: Left

 Detail: Right
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For more information about the history of these paintings and to read the
story of Clementine Hunter's first oil painting, "Bowl of Zinnias"
Please click here

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