Throughout his life, George Rodrigue returned repeatedly to his favorite subjects —particularly those connected to his personal interests and history.
This original silkscreen features Rodrigue’s actual Coca-Cola machine, a staple in his former studio behind Landry’s Restaurant in Henderson, Louisiana, where he painted during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Later Rodrigue displayed the machine as a decorative memento in his warehouse, alongside the table where he often proofed and signed his prints. Rodrigue acquired the Coca-Cola machine around 1980 from his friend Rodney Fontenot, known as ‘The Ragin’ Cajun,’ whose original portrait by George Rodrigue is currently on view at Rodrigue Studio Lafayette. Painted in 1979, the portrait includes a 1950s Coca-Cola box that Rodrigue used for years to store his paints.
In January 2017, the Bayou Teche Museum in Rodrigue’s hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana, unveiled the first phase of a permanent installation of his studio, which was dismantled and shipped from Carmel, California earlier this year. The museum’s studio will include George Rodrigue’s last painting, as it sat unfinished on his easel, as well as the original flooring, furniture, paints, brushes, photographs, student works, and his collection of 1950s memorabilia —-including the original Coca-Cola machine that inspired this artwork. (Rodrigue was particularly proud of the 7-cents sticker, added when the price of a coke increased by a penny.)
Note: Although Rodrigue printed this edition, he did not complete signing it. According to the appraisal firm, Matthew Clayton Brown, there is a well-established precedent for completing an artist’s edition posthumously —-notably with editions from the Estate of Andy Warhol concerning artwork Warhol had created but not yet signed upon his death.
In other words, this is not a new print. It is the original Rodrigue edition. Because Rodrigue did not complete signing the run, his estate is completing the numbered series using his official estate stamp, picking up where he left off, with #50/290. A Certificate of Authenticity with each print will reflect this signed/numbered distinction, as well as the fact that this is an original edition created in 2010 by George Rodrigue.
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