1984 by George Rodrigue
Oil on canvas
According to local legend, in the 1920s a Cajun imprisoned in Port Arthur, Texas wrote a song based on the Cajun legend “Jolie Blonde.” It tells the story of the pretty blonde woman who left her Cajun lover for someone else.
Rodrigue painted Jolie Blonde, meaning “pretty blonde,” more than one hundred times, beginning in 1974 and continuing for the rest of his life. Over the years, he used numerous models, placing Jolie Blonde at first in bayou settings and later in more contemporary and even abstract environments.
In his typical style, all elements in the painting hold equal importance, including the oak tree, as well as the shape that its branches form with the sky, perfectly framing the beautiful young woman. While she is grounded by the bench, the figure is dressed entirely in white and glows against the dark Cajun landscape. In an unusual move, Rodrigue chose to reveal Jolie Blonde’s foot, as opposed to covering the feet as typical of his figures.