Cane River Baptism

Oil on paperboard
19 x 23 7/8 inches
Circa 1950–1956

As published in: Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection

As exhibited in:
Imaginary Landscapes: Stories from the American South, 2022, The Bascomb: A Center for the Visual Arts, Highlands, North Carolina

Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, 20182021, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina; Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia

“I paint the history of my people.” At once visual storyteller and vernacular documentarian, Clementine Hunter used her art to illuminate the complex racial and religious diversity of Louisiana. Inspired to pick up a paintbrush in her fifties, Hunter repeatedly transcribed river baptisms, the sacramental transition from sin to salvation. In depicting this liminal space, Hunter alludes to the symbolic connection between African American emancipation and the biblical flight toward freedom through the passage of water. In this example, Hunter compresses time and space, organizing the ceremonial procession into three horizontal sequences with each figure or object firmly resting on a ground line.


Other works by this artist