A collection of 48 paintings by Clementine Hunter, a plantation worker and house servant who became a renowned folk artist, is on exhibition at Goodwood Museum & Gardens, which is displaying Hunter’s work near its collection of European fine art.
The ambitious exhibition Fine Art, Folk Art looks at the history of Goodwood and similar Southern plantations through the lenses of the fine art collected by plantation owners and the self-taught folk art created by workers such as Hunter.
Clementine Hunter is one of Louisiana’s most revered artists, telling stories in oil about Southern people whose lives were largely undocumented. A house servant who could neither read nor write, Hunter began painting in the 1940s using cast-off paints and brushes. She depicted the lives and works of black families at Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches, creating a rare chronicle of that world.
Hunter’s work now hangs in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Her paintings, murals, quilts and other artistic creations have been exhibited in museums around the world and gathered into private collections for decades.
Goodwood’s Fine Art, Folk Art exhibit is open through July 31, 2017. Special programs through springtime highlight various aspects of the fine and folk collections, from a documentary about Clementine Hunter’s world to a re-creation of Paris brimming with fine painters and sidewalk artists. Two sleuths who tracked down thieves forging Hunter’s artwork will tell their story. One is FBI special agent Randolph Deaton; the other Tom Whitehead, a friend of Hunter and collector of her work. It is Whitehead’s collection that is on exhibit at Goodwood.
The exhibit may be viewed at Goodwood Museum & Gardens Tuesday-Saturday, opening each day at 10. Read on to find details about the special events on March 23, March 28, April 6 and May 4 in support of the exhibition.
Thursday, March 23
Clementine Hunter’s World documentary, reception and/or exhibit tour at 5 PM, documentary viewing at 6 PM, in the Carriage House, $10. Ticket includes wine and cheese reception and admission to the Fine Art, Folk Art exhibit. As the civil rights protests of the 1950s were beginning to jolt America, self-taught African American artist Clementine Hunter quietly painted a visual diary of plantation life in Melrose, Louisiana – unaware her painted images would in time become portals to remind viewers of there being two sides of the 20th century plantation fence. Documentary, 35 min., NR.
Tuesday, March 28
Admiring the Hush Arbor: Exceptional Resistance from Enslaved People, 7 PM on Goodwood’s grounds. The Florida Public Archaeology Network, the John G. Riley Center and Museum, and Goodwood present a historical perspective on a religious practice carried out by enslaved people. In an outdoor setting reminiscent of this tradition, speakers will address the history of hush arbors and other avenues of cultural perseverance, how this tradition relates to contemporary issues, and the music that accompanied this historical tradition. Free and open to the public.
Thursday, April 6
Goodwood’s Grand Tour, 6 to 9 PM on Goodwood’s Grounds, tickets $50. Take the “European Grand Tour” on Goodwood’s majestic grounds and mingle with art’s masters during this fête extraordinaire. Enjoy the sidewalk artists of Paris, experience an edible still life, dine and sip wine with the view of the water lilies of Monet. An evening to delight the senses.
Thursday, May 4
Collectors and Crooks, Carriage House, 6 PM, tickets $50 for general admission, $45 for members.This Louisiana-inspired dinner and lecture features the two experts who mounted the FBI investigation and successful prosecution of thieves forging Clementine Hunter paintings. They are FBI Special Agent Randolph Deaton and Tom Whitehead, longtime friend of Clementine Hunter and owner of the collection currently on exhibit.
The Fine Art, Folk Art program series opened Feb. 24 with Ain’t I a Woman, musical theatre portraying ex-slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, folk artist Clementine Hunter, whose work is featured in the Fine Art, Folk Art exhibit, and Civil Rights worker Fanny Lou Hamer.
For sponsorship opportunities for the exhibit or individual events, please contact Jennifer Humayun, Co-Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 850-877-4202 x223.
For more information, call 850-877-4202.