Caroline Wogan Durieux (American/Louisiana, 1896-1989) , "Peace", electron print, pencil-signed, titled and inscribed "artist proof" lower margin, sheet 12 1/8 in. x 19 7/8 in., unframed.

  • “Perhaps it is a little too early to say that [Durieux] is a modern Goya, but whether this is a prophecy or exaggeration, it proves what an impact her work has made.” - Harry Salpeter Caroline Durieux showed artistic promise early in life at the young age of six. Her parents recognized her potential and had her tutored by Newcomb art teacher Mary Butler while still in middle school. Durieux inherited a “strong independent streak” from her mother and insisted on pursuing higher education at a time when women were not expected or encouraged to continue their studies. At Newcomb College, under the tutelage of Ellsworth Woodward, her strong will and steadfast confidence often led to friction with the great artist. “[H]e expected his students to copy his work exactly. This didn’t sit well with me." Nevertheless, she later cited Woodward’s grueling drawing classes as giving her a firm foundation in art, and she insisted that her students learn the same method decades later while teaching at Louisiana State University. At the time of her graduation from Newcomb, rather than making her debut, Durieux convinced her parents to fund the furthering of her education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After her return to New Orleans and subsequent marriage, she traveled throughout Cuba and Latin America with her husband and settled in Mexico City, where her creative energy blossomed. Durieux’s dark humor in her artwork caught the attention of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo with whom she remained lifelong friends. The rebellious spirit of Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the egalitarian and revolutionary style of the two famous artists are often cited as primary influences for Durieux in finding her voice and solidifying her satirical take on society. Her time in Mexico is also where she discovered her preferred medium - lithography. Studying with the printmaker Emilio Amero at his studio in Mexico City she found the process allowed her to merge her love of drawing with her humorous and sardonic style to great effect. Her return to America in the late 1930s marked the beginning of an impressive succession of accomplishments from illustrating books by Lyle Saxon and serving as director of the Federal Art Project for the district of New Orleans (which under her leadership was the only de-segregated Works Progress Administration district in the state) to spearheading a traveling modern art exhibition throughout Latin America sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Durieux eventually landed two teaching jobs, one at Newcomb College and the other at Louisiana State University, the latter at which she remained for twenty-one years. While at LSU, her curiosity and innovative spirit led to advances in the world of printmaking in her creation of the first color cliché-verre prints and invention of a new printing technique called electron printing. The new method was created while working with the LSU Nuclear Science and Biosciences departments and involved drawing with ink infused with radioactive isotopes, pressing the drawing to photo paper and allowing the isotope decay to form the image. Her contributions to regional art history are innumerable, and her lasting inspiration can be glimpsed in the bodies of work of artists such as Robert Gordy, George Dureau and Elemore Morgan, Jr. Ref.: Retif, Earl. “Caroline Wogan Durieux A True Original”. Stone + Press. Accessed Mar. 3, 2023.
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