Magazine article Arts & Activities

Animals in Art

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Animals in Art

Article excerpt

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Few artists are fortunate enough know the kind of success that George Rodrigue (1944-2013) experienced over the course of his lifetime. Not since Andy Warhol has an American artist had both the popular and commercial success of Rodrigue (pronounced rod-REEG). His "Blue Dog" has become as iconic as Grant Wood's Midwestern farmers in American Gothic, or Warhol's Marilyn series. This month's Arts & Activities Art Print, Springtime is a Comin', is particularly poignant, as it was made just nine months before the artist's death in December 2013.

Rodrigue was born and raised in New Iberia, La. He began to draw as age 5, while bedridden with polio. After graduating from high school, he studied art at the University of Louisiana and the Art Center College for Design in California. His early works focused on the rural Louisiana: its powerful oak trees and Cajun people, past and present.

In the early 1990s, Rodrigue made his first painting of a blue dog, whose shape and stance was inspired by a photograph of his late dog, Tiffany. According to Rodrigue's biography found on the website, georgerodrique.com, "[the artist] transformed the image of the original Cajun werewolf dog--the "loup-garou'--into an international pop icon."

Through the George Rodrigue Foundation for the Arts, the artist gave back to his community by providing art supplies to local schools, implementing arts programs, and awarding art scholarships to deserving students. Through the sale of relief prints, the foundation raised $2.5 million in post-Hurricane Katrina relief.

Numerous books have been published about the artist, including the children's book, Why is Blue Dog Blue: A Tale of Colors (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2002). His work is in museum and private collections throughout the world, including The Smithson ian Institution, The George W. …

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