By Tara Bennett
The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) and the LSU School of Music are still making music together.
Thursday, the estate of George Rodrigue released “Take Five,” the latest print released by the New Iberia artist’s studio since his death on Dec. 14, 2013. The silkscreen was designed by Rodrigue, and has been printed posthumously in a limited numbered edition of 950. The print, which is selling for $500, combines Rodrigue’s iconic Blue Dog, the lush landscape of Louisiana and the musical heritage of the LSU School of Music.
“The design comes from a painting Dad did about 10 years ago of Blue Dog sitting at a piano in his traditional Louisiana landscape,” said Rodrigue’s son Jacque Rodrigue, who is the executive director of GRFA.
An advocate of the arts and arts education, Rodrigue was a longtime supporter of the School of Music and LSU. In 2012, he donated a 1939 Steinway grand piano emblazoned with a Blue Dog painting to the LSU School of Music.
“Dad originally painted the Rodrigue ‘Blue Dog’ Steinway in partnership with the LSU School of Music and Hall Piano Company to raise funds and awareness for the importance of arts in education,” said Rodrigue. “This print is the culmination of that partnership and allows us to raise money for the arts without needing to sell the Rodrigue Steinway.”
The print was unveiled on Thursday, September 4 at the Cook Hotel at LSU in a private reception from 5-7 p.m. Supporters of both Rodrigue and the LSU School of Music were treated to a first look at the print, as well as Blue Dog-inspired cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and music by LSU School of Music PhD student Harold Mims who will perform on the Rodrigue Steinway.
Since the unveiling, the print has been made available for purchase at www.GeorgeRodrigue.com and in Rodrigue Studio locations in the New Orleans French Quarter, Lafayette and Carmel, California. All proceeds support GRFA and the LSU School of Music.
“Dad created several prints over the years that raised millions of dollars for charities such as the Red Cross and the United Way after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina,” said Rodrigue. “My family and I are excited that we can continue to release prints designed by Dad in order to raise funds for other important causes.”
Rodrigue is working to continue his father’s legacy, and has fulfilled one dream already. Instead of the artist’s signature, “Take Five” will feature a stamp with a proprietary ink that reacts uniquely to differing wavelengths of light when placed under UV and infrared light.
“We wanted to make sure that we could put something on these prints that would authenticate they’re from the Rodrigue estate,” Jacque Rodrigue said.
According to Rodrigue, his father talked for years about releasing prints after his death and wanting to put a stamp on them. Jacque Rodrigue said technology has finally caught up with his father’s wishes and has allowed one of his final requests to be fulfilled.
After the unveiling, it is expected the print will sell out as quickly as its predecessors.
“We were shocked that the first two posthumously released print editions sold out so quickly,” said Rodrigue. “We feel very lucky that so many people continue to be so supportive of Dad’s art. My family and I look forward to continuing the work that he started both in our galleries and to keep arts in schools in a meaningful way through the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.”