Artist George Rodrigue was famous for his Cajun-inspired paintings long before he became mainstream; boaters in the bayou or patriotically posing before an oak tree.
“He chose to paint Louisiana, because that’s where he was from and that’s what he cared about. He saw kind of a void there in the art world of a story that he wanted to tell,” says his son, Jacques Rodrigue.
“This is really where he’s introducing the world to Acadian culture and the culture of Cajuns,” says Jelena Smith, a fine arts specialist for New Orleans Auction Galleries.
Following notoriety in 1990, his Louisiana story revolved around the legend of Loup-Garou, a werewolf meant to scare disobedient Cajun children. It was an image based on his childhood dog Tiffany; he called it the Blue Dog.
New Orleans Auction Gallaries estimates the cost of some of the iconic Blue Dog paintings they have between $20,000 to $40,000. Some of their Cajun series paintings they are estimating between $30,000 to $50,000. Whether or not the price of the paintings goes up after his death remains to be seen.
James says it will be up to collectors.
“I think our upcoming sale in May will probably answer some of those questions,” says James.
Meanwhile, Jacques says originals aren’t for sale and he continues to monitor auctions around the world. He estimates only 10 to 15 pieces have been sold since his father’s death in December.
“We don’t know how to price it and we just don’t have that much, so currently available is only silk screening prints and mixed medias,” says Jacques.
However, he says, those few sales have shown gains.
“The auction price is about double from what the auctions were compared to last year,” says Jacques.
Signed copies or prints are no exception.
“The most expensive print we had before was about $7,000 or $8,000 and now we’re in the $15,000 to $20,000 range,” says Jacques.
Jacques says it will probably be another year before they consider selling any originals.