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Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter

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Overview

A picture book biography of the remarkable folk artist Clementine Hunter.

Can you imagine being an artist who isn't allowed into your own show? That's what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed.

With lyrical writing and striking illustrations, this picture book biography ...

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Overview

A picture book biography of the remarkable folk artist Clementine Hunter.

Can you imagine being an artist who isn't allowed into your own show? That's what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed.

With lyrical writing and striking illustrations, this picture book biography introduces kids to a self-taught artist whose paintings captured scenes of backbreaking work and joyous celebrations of southern farm life. They preserve a part of American history we rarely see and prove that art can help keep the spirit alive.
 

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Although there was a difference in their life spans of about 25 years, Clementine Hunter (1886/1887-1988) and Grandma Moses (1860-1961) had much in common. Neither had any formal art training, both started painting in midlife, both used a folk-art style derived from their individual roots, and both lived long and fruitful lives finding personal passion in their art. Hunter, who today enjoys a modest reputation and whose work is sold in galleries and hung in museums, never received the acclamation that Moses achieved. Whitehead and Evans present an effective vehicle to introduce children to the work of this remarkable Southern black woman. Whitehead's lyrical text speaks of Hunter's perseverance and talent as well as of the simplicity, love of nature, and caring of friends and family that informed her work. Evans bolsters Whitehead's words with bold mixed-media illustrations that portray Hunter in hard times and in good. He often focuses on her hands and face, bringing strength and vitality to the pictures. In one especially poignant image, he depicts the artist standing alone before her pictures at an exhibition after hours: she was forbidden to enter the gallery with other visitors because of her race. Pair this picture-book biography with one about Grandma Moses, perhaps Alexandra Wallner's Grandma Moses (Holiday House, 2004) or W. Nikola-Lisa's The Year with Grandma Moses (Holt, 2000), to present inspiring stories of two outstanding American women artists. Eleven small reproductions of Hunter's works are appended.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Kirkus Reviews
Hunter started painting on scraps and gourds at age 50, using paints left by artists who frequented the Louisiana plantation where she worked. She depicted what she saw around her, cementing her legacy as a chronicler of soon-to-disappear plantation life when she became the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at major museum. Evans's images echo Hunter's naive style, his bright palette paying homage to Hunter's own vivid colors. Collage elements on highly textured backgrounds incorporate reproductions of her work. While the story of Hunter's success as an untrained artist will inspire students, they will not be as impressed with Whitehead's narrative. Too many sentence fragments and backward shifts recalling the incidents that inspired Hunter's work detract from the narrative flow. A concluding author's note for adults provides the background necessary to fully understand Hunter's life. Although not outstanding, it is undeniably useful as the only picture-book biography of the self-taught Hunter, who died in 1988 at the age of 101. (thumbnail reproductions, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242199
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/18/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 232,182
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.18 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Whitehead lives in College Station, Texas.

Shane W. Evans lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Informative for all ages

    Intended for children, but a great read for all ages. Thoroughly enjoyed learning about an important artist from recent history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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