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Melrose Quilt

ca. 1960 Clementine Hunter Born: Cloutierville, Louisiana Died: Nachitoches, Louisiana 1988 fabric 73 x 60 in. (185.4 x 152.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Barbara Coffey Quilt Endowment 2014.5 Not currently on view


Gallery Label

Clementine Hunter was born on a Louisiana plantation where her grandparents had been slaves. When she was twelve, her family moved to Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches Parish to work as sharecroppers. Clementine worked as a field hand, cook, and housekeeper. The Henry family bought Melrose in 1884; they restored architectural structures on the property and moved historic log cabins from the area onto the property. When John Hampton Henry died, his wife Cammie made Melrose a retreat for visiting artists. Hunter’s exposure to artists and some leftover paints led her to own artistry. She painted quotidian stories she felt historians overlooked—primarily the activities of the black workers. She also made pictorial quilts. This one depicts several notable buildings at Melrose, including the Big House, Yucca House, and African House, in which Hunter painted a now-historic mural of plantation life in 1955.

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

decorative arts - fiber

folk art

About Clementine Hunter

Born: Cloutierville, Louisiana Died: Nachitoches, Louisiana 1988

More works in the collection by
Clementine Hunter