Cotton Belt Gallery
Clementine Hunter (December 1886 - January 1, 1988) was born on Hidden Hill Plantation near Natchitoches, Louisiana, but moved just up the road to Melrose Plantation when she was a child. Founded in the 1790's by a freed Congo woman, Melrose Plantation was a melting pot of African and Creole cultures along the Cane River. During Clementine's years there, the plantation acted as a small artist colony, hosting John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Alberta Kinsey, and others.
Around 1940, Clementine went from working in the cotton fields to working in the kitchen. One day, she asked permission to use some paints and brushes that Alberta Kinsey had left on one of her visits. Her first painting was on a window shade and it depicted a scene of a baptism in the Cane River. Known as a "memory painter," Clementine captured scenes of daily life on a variety of surfaces, particularly discarded cardboard, boxes, jugs and the like.
Considered Louisiana's most famous female artist, Clementine's work can be found at the Smithsonian Institute, the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of American Folk Art, the High Museum of Atlanta, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the New York Historical Association, and the Oprah Winfrey Collection in Chicago.