NEW ORLEANS – Neal Auctions’ Important Spring Estates Auction will feature three rare and extremely important works. The murals are by Clementine Hunter (American/Louisiana, 1886-1988). The self-taught artist painted the works early in her career. They appear on the walls of Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Showcasing Clementine Hunter’s Self-Taught Artistry
Originally built by free people of color during the early 19th century, Melrose was purchased in 1884 by Joseph Henry. Mr. Henry’s daughter-in-law Cammie Henry transformed the plantation into a creative haven for artists and writers. It was in this environment that Clementine Hunter developed her distinctive painting style. She who began working at Melrose as a laborer at the age of 15.
Hunter’s monumental paintings on offer in this sale include: “The Annunciation and the Adoration of the Wise Men,” 1957. In addition, “Harvesting Gourds near the African House and Wash Day near the Ghana House, Melrose Plantation,” is in the sale. It dates to 1959. Finally, “The Cotton Crucifixion,” from 1959, is up for bid. The pieces include rich and complex iconography. This is something Hunter continued to use on a much smaller scale throughout her lifetime.
Originally sold as a part of the Melrose Plantation Auction in 1970, the location of the murals was unknown for almost half a century. Furthermore, the return of these historic paintings to New Orleans in its Tricentennial year affords a wonderful opportunity for new scholarship on one of America’s most well-known and beloved self-taught artists. The Hunter murals will be offered consecutively as lots 174, 175, and 176, with estimates at $20,000 to $30,000, $20,000 to $30,000, and $15,000 to $25,000, respectively.
Learn more about Neal Auctions’ March 24-25 auction at www.nealauction.com.