The Bayou Teche Museum is home to a major collection of the life and work of New Iberia-born, world-famous artist George Rodrigue. Rodrigue is most famous for his Blue Dog paintings, which can be seen (and seen imitated) widely in Louisiana; but the artist began his career painting scenes of rural Louisiana. Though Rodrigue lived and worked predominantly in California toward the end of his life, he never lost his connection to his native state; so it’s fitting that a local museum should come to be one of the keepers of his legacy. Since shortly after Rodrigue’s death in 2013, his widow, Wendy Rodrigue, has worked with the Bayou Teche Museum to establish a permanent rotating exhibit of his art, to be titled Rodrigue Comes Home. Currently presented are works from his series of paintings for children’s hospitals, Shiny Happy New Dog.
While the exhibit will feature many of Rodrigue’s paintings, the most interesting (and poignant) aspect will be the reconstruction of his Carmel studio within the museum. Everything that can be removed from his studio has been, down to the paint-flecked floorboards. The contents were shipped to Louisiana and are being reconstructed as closely as possible in temporary digs as a purpose-built annex is completed. Visitors will be able to glimpse the workspace of this deeply beloved local artist, including the painting left unfinished by his early passing and displayed on the very easel on which he worked.
The Bayou Teche Museum is located in downtown New Iberia and is open Thursday through Saturday, 10 am–4 pm, or by appointment—really, just call, and if the curator is there she will let you in. For more information, visit BayouTecheMuseum.org or call (337) 606-5977.