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John Genin, 'Portrait of Paul Henri Augustin Capdevielle & Pierre Emmanuel 'Auguste' Capdevielle, Children of Paul Capedevielle, Former Mayor of New Orleans,' estimated at $4,000-$8,000 at Crescent City Auction Gallery.

Clementine Hunter and John Genin works highlight Louisiana heritage at Crescent City May 10-11

NEW ORLEANS — Works by Clementine Hunter and John Genin are star lots at the two-day May Estates Auction at Crescent City Auction Gallery Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11. The catalogs are available for review and bidding now at LiveAuctioneers.

Considered by many to be the queen of self-taught artists, Clementine Hunter (1886-1988) began selling her paintings for 25 cents. She was in her fifties when her art career took off, and she gained national attention for her depictions of Black American farm life. She had worked on Louisiana plantations her entire life, first as a field laborer, like her father. Wash Day is an untitled oil on canvas board in classic naive style. One element that makes this lot stand out is the painting is accompanied by a photograph of Hunter holding the work in her lap. Crescent City has estimated Wash Day at $4,000-$8,000.

John Genin (1830-1895) was born in France but came to New Orleans in 1860 and set up shop as a portrait painter for the Crescent City’s elite. He painted portraits of men, women, children, and the elderly, and his style was clearly influenced by the bitter rival of 19th-century portraitists everywhere, photography. His uncanny depictions of his subjects are eerily photographic, a testament to the increasing pressure artists were feeling with the rising popularity of photography in the portrait space.

Portrait of Paul Henri Augustin Capdevielle & Pierre Emmanuel ‘Auguste’ Capdevielle, Children of Paul Capedevielle, Former Mayor of New Orleans is from the 1886-1887 period, when Genin was hitting his stride with New Orleans clientele. Capedevielle was mayor from 1900 to 1904, making the inscription on the painting likely from the early 20th century. Paul Henri would live until 1950 and Auguste until 1940, so the work likely remained in the family for some time. Capedevielle is best remembered for launching New Orleans’ modern sewage and drainage system, and for receiving President William McKinley, the first American leader to visit the city while in office. The painting is estimated at $4,000-$8,000.