George Rodrigue – God Bless America, 2011
Size: 23.5 x 23.875 inches
Signed lower right
Certificate of Authenticity included
A painter who emerged in the 1960s with dark and lush landscapes of his native Louisiana bayou, George Rodrigue is today best known for a series of portraits of a melancholy mutt that came to be known as Blue Dog. Inspired by a werewolf from Cajun ghost stories, also known as the loup-garou, this image was modeled after a photograph of his late dog, Tiffany. Rendered blue with piercing yellow eyes, this motif has become a touchstone of contemporary American culture.
This familiar motif also appears in the work “God Bless America” from 2001. The work was created in response to the 9/11 attack, a tragic event which affected every American in some way or another. Turning to his easel and paints for comfort, the artist created a work from the depths of his personal sadness, reflecting the feelings of many. Juxtaposed with the American flag, the dog is rendered without color, reflecting shock and grief, and with red eyes, indicating a heavy heart.
Deciding to donate the sales from a print of this painting to the relief effort, Rodrigue raised $500,000 for the American Red Cross. Standing as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, this work was meant to mend the broken hearts of the nation and strengthen their courage and compassion.
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About George Rodrigue
An artist who found great inspiration in his native Louisiana, George Rodrigue is celebrated for his iconic and long-running Blue Dog series of paintings. Drawn from a ghost story of his homeland, the Blue Dog became a ubiquitous motif and one of the most recognizable icons in American contemporary culture. Expressing a personal relationship with Louisiana and his spiritual and cultural ideas as they pertained to his homeland, George Rodrigue gave meaning to a new phrase: Cajun Artist. Visually interpreting the landscape and the rich history of Cajun people, he painted bayou scenes with Louisiana oak trees, family gatherings in the open and local myths. It was one myth in particular that launched Rodrigue into stardom. The myth of a loup-garou, a werewolf-type dog who lurked in the swamps around Louisiana, gave rise to the acclaimed Blue Dog character. Modeled after his late dog Tiffany, a melancholy blue mutt with yellow eyes allowed the artist to jump from a dark, dreary landscape to a very bright Pop Art, contemporary color palette.
Rodrigue was awarded an Honorable Mention from Le Salon in Paris in 1975, an honorary doctorate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2009, the Distinguished Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 2011 and received the Opus award from the Odgen Museum of Southern Art in 2013. In 2009, the artist formed the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, a non-profit organization which advocates the importance of the visual arts in children’s development and supports a variety of art educational programs.
With each of his series, Rodrigues developed a new mode of expression in a contemporary way, but always rooted in Louisiana and it timeless symbols. His works are about life and the humanity searching for answers.
Born in New Iberia, Louisiana in 1944, George Rodrigue had spent the majority of his life in his native country. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer. The value of Rodrigue’s art continues to rise after his death. In April 2015, the Blue Dog painting was sold at the Neal Auction Company of New Orleans for $173,000.