Genre. Naive. Primitive. African American. Three figures doing the wash in the foreground, clothesline and Africa House in the background.

The Wash, 1950s

Oil on boardexpand_more

The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  91.88.2

Clementine Hunter, a Louisiana plantation worker, did not begin to paint until she was nearly sixty. Born about 1886, she spent much of her life working in cotton fields; she later became a cook for the owners of the Melrose plantation. In 1940, by chance, she found paints and brushes discarded by a visiting artist, and her experiments pleased her and impressed family and guests at Melrose. She began a second career as a folk painter, continuing to work until her death in 1988.

Like many folk painters, Hunter chose her subject matter from her own daily life. Scenes of picking cotton, threshing pecans, and boiling wash are interspersed with weddings, funerals, and even brawls at the local honky-tonk. Her paintings record a distinctive time and place, with a degree of detail borne of a lifetime of experience. Transformed through her composition, original use of color, and subtle wit, these events become timeless.

Details
Title
The Wash
Artist Life
1885 - 1988
Role
Artist
Accession Number
91.88.2
Curator Approved

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Genre. Naive. Primitive. African American. Three figures doing the wash in the foreground, clothesline and Africa House in the background.