Born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, artist George Rodrigue (1944 – 2013) is best known for his Blue Dog paintings, which catapulted him to worldwide fame in the early 1990s. His art studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette followed by the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California gave him a foundation that spawned one of the greatest success stories in southern art.
Rodrigue is the subject of twelve books, published nationally and internationally, on his art, as well as numerous museum exhibitions, including forty-year career retrospectives at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens Museum in Memphis, Tennessee (2007) and the New Orleans Museum of Art (2008), both of which broke museum records at those locations for living artists or contemporary shows.
Rodrigue, who began painting in the third grade while bedridden with polio, had already won local acclaim for his rich portrayals of the landscape and people of South Louisiana when Blue Dog transformed the image of the original Cajun werewolf dog — the loup-garou — into an international pop icon.
Rodrigue exhibits his original paintings and silkscreens in his own galleries in Carmel, California, Lafayette, Louisiana, and New Orleans, Louisiana where, after twenty years in the same location, he recently purchased and renovated a two hundred year old building adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, providing him with more than four thousand square feet of exhibition space.
Through the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, Rodrigue raised $2.5 million benefiting post-Katrina New Orleans through sales of his relief prints. In early 2013 he held his fourth annual statewide art contest for high school juniors and seniors, a contest that attracted 1,500 applicants since 2010 and granted over $150,000 in scholarships, art supplies, and other assistance.
For a detailed history of the artist and his work visit Wendy’s blog, featuring more than 200 essays on Rodrigue, his early years, and current projects. www.wendyrodrigue.com
George Rodrigue passed away on December 14, 2013 at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer. View memorial tributes and learn more on our In Memoriam page.