Pack of Oak Groves
2004 by George Rodrigue
Acrylic on canvas
Location: Rodrigue Studio New Orleans, in conjunction with the special exhibition Rodrigue’s Heartland: Under the Oaks and Out of the Swamp .
“It was painting the oak trees that trained me to develop my own style,” explained George Rodrigue. As both a symbol and artistic element, the Rodrigue Oak is as distinctive, contemporary, and enduring as his Blue Dog. Throughout Rodrigue’s career, the oak tree remains the black, dominant force tying the Cajuns, Blue Dog, and other subjects to the land.
A magnificent Rodrigue painting, Pack of Oak Groves near-startles with its immediacy, where the dog and trees hold equal weight. From its position of strength, front and center, the dog challenges the viewer to an exchange— creating a mysterious, surreal environment and scenario. For this reason, the painting was the last artwork, or finale, within the sequence of 260 paintings on view during the 2008 exhibition, Rodrigue’s Louisiana: Cajuns, Blue Dogs, and Beyond Katrina at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The blockbuster show was the most well-attended exhibition at NOMA on record (since 1911) for a living artist or a contemporary exhibit. Within a private collection since 2005, Rodrigue’s Heartland is the first time since NOMA that this classic Rodrigue dog-in-a-landscape has been on public view.
Pack of Oak Groves also appears within the book Planet Dog (2005, Houghton Mifflin & Harcourt) by Sandra Choron and Harry Choron.