Look Magazine June 16, 1953
Clementine Hunter in her cabin with her documented first oil
painting, "Bowl of Zinnias". This photograph was taken
by noted photographer, Clarence John Laughlin, in the early 1950's.
Another photograph by Clarence Laughlin of Clementine with "Bowl
of Zinnias" is shown in the frontispiece of Shelby R. Gilley's
authoritative book on the life and works of Clementine Hunter:
R. Gilley, "Painting by Heart -- The Life and Art of Clementine
Hunter, Louisiana Folk Artist" St. Emma Press, Baton Rouge
for enlarged view of photograph
In the photograph
above, which appeared in Look Magazine, June 16, 1953, Clementine
Hunter is shown in her cabin on Melrose Plantation with her first
oil painting, "Bowl of Zinnias" (on the table to her
left). This work, the first of Clementine's early "secret
paintings", predated even the window-shade painting referred
to by Francois Mignon in his writings.
This important historical painting is now part of a private collection
and was previously owned by Whitfield Jack, grandson of Blythe
White Rand of Alexandria, Louisiana, who was a fellow weaver,
horticulturist, and friend of Mrs. Cammie Henry, owner of Melrose,
dating back to the mid 1930's. Mrs. Rand along with the artist,
Alberta Kinsey, provided the "bowl" (actually a beaten
copper pitcher) of zinnias and the oil paints used by Clementine
for her first oil painting.
The painting was given by Clementine to Mrs. Rand and remained
in her possession from the time it was painted c.1939 until 1952.
At that time, at the urging of world-renowned photographer, Clarence
John Laughlin (who was engaged at that time by the Library of
Congress to do a pictorial history of Louisiana architecture),
the painting was exhibited in the Saturday Gallery in St. Louis,
Missouri. The program for this exhibit is included in the documentation.
The work was not sold and was returned by Clementine to Mrs.
Rand. (The painting, Milking Time", shown in the photograph
above at Clementine's feet, is also owned by Mr. Jack's family
and was also exhibited in the Saturday Gallery exhibition).
"Bowl of Zinnias" was most recently shown in September
1997 at the Addison Ripley Gallery Exhibit in Georgetown, Washington,
D.C. Prior to that it was exhibited at the Saturday Gallery,
Saint Louis, Missouri, November 17 - December 22, 1952.
Clementine Hunter's First Oil Painting
"Bowl of Zinnias" c.1939
Oil on corrugated board
20-1/2 inches x 16-3/4 inches
This painting is now in the
private collection of an anonymous owner.
It is a copyrighted work of art and many not be reproduced in
See notice below.
Close up views of painting
paintings by signature
Read about the Secret Paintings
of Clementine Hunter
|The link below will lead you to the
story of the first of the early oil paintings that were done
prior to the famous window-shade painting commonly assumed to
be Clementine's first work -- paintings that were acknowledged
by Francois himself as "the secret paintings" of Clementine
Hunter. Included is a full documentation of Clementine Hunter's
historically significant first work in oils,
"The Bowl of Zinnias"
Links to website
of fellow artists, travelers, and kindred spirits
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"Bowl of Zinnias", are the property of the Cane River
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