St. Peter’s College, New Iberia, Louisiana
1971 by George Rodrigue
Oil on canvas
24×48 inches
Price Upon Request

Location:  Rodrigue Studio Lafayette

After painting oak tree filled landscapes for three years, Rodrigue began to wonder what a person would look like that walked out from behind one of his trees.  He decided they would be primitive, and timeless — ghostlike, floating between the past and the present, caught by the trees, the land, and their heritage.

In 1971 he painted St. Peter’s College, New Iberia, Louisiana where he attended school as a child.  Painted in the same manner as Aioli Dinner, Rodrigue’s first major work that included people, the composition is based on a photograph.  

This painting is prominently featured within the book The Cajuns of George Rodrigue (1976, Oxmoor House), the first book published nationally on the Cajun culture.  The landmark publication won numerous awards and was recommended by the National Endowment for the Arts to First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who chose it as an official White House Gift of State during President Carter’s administration.  (Learn more).  Rodrigue wrote alongside this painting in the book:

“These boys standing on a plank-walk above the halfway point on the canvas have a floating quality.  They are in school, in a stage of movement, and perhaps this is what school is — a short movement of time.  So I have these school friends grouped together with the teacher on this suspended plank, moving in time and in the swamps of Louisiana.”