Lot 506: Clementine Hunter (American/Louisiana)
December 3, 2016
New Orleans, LA, USALive Auction
Description: Clementine Hunter (American/Louisiana, 1886-1988), "Baptism", oil on paperboard, unsigned, "Eleanor M. Worsley, M.D." handwritten en verso, 16 in. x 20 in., framed. Provenance: Estate of Dr. Eleanor M. Worsley, Natchitoches, LA. Ill.: "Melrose Artist To Have Delgado Museum Exhibit". Natchitoches Times Apr. 29, 1955. Note: Dr. Eleanor Mendell Worsley (1918-2003), born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, began practicing medicine in Cloutierville in 1945 after graduating from Boston University Medical School and working as a fellow at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. As Natchitoches Parishs first licensed female physician, Dr. Worsley and her husband lived in the historic Kate Chopin House in Cloutierville for two years, taking over the practice of Dr. Wenk, before moving to Natchitoches where she continued to practice medicine until 1998. Respected for her knowledge and experience and beloved for her dedication, Dr. Worsley treated those who came to her clinic, as well as traveled to rural areas to make charitable house calls to those too sick or too poor to come to her. Patients who were treated by her often commented that Dr. Worsley would accept unconventional forms of payment such as eggs, or even whole chickens. Named one of Louisianas Women of the Century in 2000, Dr. Worsley also helped found an Alzheimers facility in Natchitoches that now bears her name. Dr. Worsley was Clementine Hunters personal physician for many years. The current lot, depicting a church congregation with a baptism performed in the foreground, is an early work; a 1955 article in the Nachitoches Times on Hunters Delgado Exhibit of that same year includes a photograph of this painting from Dr. Worsleys collection. Over the years, Dr. Worsley acquired a lovely collection including some of Hunters most iconic scenes of cotton picking, a hospital where Hunter convalesced, laundry day scenes, and the African House at Melrose Plantation.