Amidst the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River and the sound of jazz musicians playing saxophones and trumpets, New Orleans and its environs is the region where some of America's most famous folk artists have made their mark. The deep south has a rich history and a wonderful tradition in the arts.
With my experience tracing the art and antiques markets and reporting on trends, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a spike in the market for authentic Clementine Hunter paintings and other examples of fine American folk art from the South.
As America is enjoying and experiencing a renewed interest in the culture of the deep South via TV with shows such as "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," the art world will follow suit with the sale of great objects that capture the folk artistry of Clementine Hunter and the artists of her circle.
Above is artwork by folk artist Clementine Hunter.
The colorful and cheerful works of Hunter have a straightforward cultural and aesthetic appeal. The cook turned artist has become well known in folk art circles since the 1960s.
Hunter was a cook on a Southern plantation and was the granddaughter of a slave. She taught herself to paint in the late 1930s and her works, like those of William H. Johnson and others, have become synonymous with the primitive style and bold energy of American folk painting of the deep South.
Hunter painted scenes with figures, both young and old, doing field work and plantation chores. In Hunter's compositions, people are shown riding wagons, picking cotton, attending baptisms, going to funerals and participating in other aspects of early Southern life.
A native of Louisiana, Hunter died at age 101 in 1988.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Hunter personally sold some of her paintings from her home/studio outside of Natchitoches, La.
These works typically were executed in oil on board and were available for as little as 25 cents to $1 each in the early days of her growing artistic fame. Authentic Hunter paintings sell today in the $5,000 to $15,000 range.
Some have been on display in folk art exhibitions at universities and regional museums across the country.
Many people believe that American folk art and primitive paintings are easy to forge, however those with a trained eye can see the details and identify a fake a mile away. I have appraised pieces of American folk art including paintings and sculpture.
Clementine Hunter and artists of her circle have produced pieces that are now highly desirable with collectors. Those lucky collectors who made a small investment buying Hunter paintings back in the 1950s through the 1970s from the artist herself are reaping the benefits of their sharp and educated eye now.
Ph.D. antiques appr-aiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel's "Auction Kings." Visit www.drloriv.com, www.facebook.com/doctorlori or call 888-431-1010.