The British publication ARTbibliographies
says of Clementine Hunter: American Folk Artist
that “the author provides a detailed biography of Hunter, describes her studio, and traces the development of her artistic career in Melrose, Louisiana.” Independent Publisher
describes it as “a beautifully published testament to an American original.”
Clementine Hunter has been called a primitive artist, a folk artist, a naive painter, and a memory painter. Her bold, exuberant style defies all conventions of traditional art forms. As one critic stated, primitive art reveals a “flash of the spirit”—and Hunter was certainly a woman with great spirit. Born in 1887 at the Hidden Hill Plantation near Cloutierville, Louisiana, Hunter did not complete her first painting until she had reached her mid-fifties. She then began her incredible journey from the rural South to international acclaim. Fortunately, Hunter’s growing importance in the art community never altered her down-to-earth personality. When asked to title a painting, Hunter would simply state, “That’s pickin’ cotton.” Other subjects include baptisms, funerals, washdays, and sugarcane harvests—all vibrant visual depictions of Hunter’s daily life on Louisiana’s Melrose Plantation. These paintings, combined with Hunter’s descriptions of them, provide a rich history of a culture now gone.
In this indispensable art collection, author James L. Wilson rounds out the colorful story of Hunter’s work by including excerpts from the letters of François Mignon. Mignon worked as a curator and librarian at Melrose Plantation, where he formed a close personal friendship with Hunter. His letters chronicle her growth and development into a major contemporary artist. Completing the collection are a detailed biography of Hunter, one hundred color photographs of her work, a summary of critical commentary, and an appendix of permanent exhibits.