Until now, it was 35 years ago that George Rodrigue last exhibited in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when his good friend, Rosalea Murphy, hosted an exhibition of his paintings in the apartment above her famous restaurant, The Pink Adobe. George spoke often of the unique camaraderie he enjoyed with artists such as Rosalea, her daughter Priscilla Hoback, Armond Lara, and Douglas Magnus. He relished in seeing their current projects, while sharing his latest with them, and they developed lasting friendships rooted in the respect that comes from mutual support and the exchange of ideas.
Recently, I found myself on the receiving end of this supportive community during a special Life & Legacy Foundation event at the Acequia Madre House. Hosted by the Women’s International Study Center, this was my first-ever presentation in New Mexico, and it coincided with the ribbon-cutting for an 11-foot Rodrigue sculpture now installed on the historic property’s beautiful grounds.
I was extremely honored by this invitation to speak; however, following the generous efforts of the WISC staff, I was concerned as to whether anyone would show! To my surprise, the cars kept arriving, some with groups of friends who gathered just for this occasion! It was a full house, and I remain grateful, awed, and giddy by the memory.
For this special presentation, I shared original Rodrigue artworks from my collection, ranging in date from 1969 to 2013. These included one of his earliest Cajun Series paintings, “Miss July 4th of Carencro, Louisiana” (1971); a classic Blue Dog Series canvas, “Immaculate Dog” (1992), inspired by an 1852 painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres; a bronze statue, “Evangeline Standing,” cast at Shidoni Foundry; and the 4-foot hand-painted prototype for his large-scale sculptures.
My current husband, Douglas Magnus, is a renowned silversmith known for his jewelry line commemorating the 400th anniversary of Santa Fe. At the Acequia Madre House, he shared one of several artworks gifted as a surprise to him by George in 2010, featuring Rodrigue’s iconic Blue Dog, Magnus’s iconic “Santa Fe 400” medallions, and a (iconic!) photograph of Magnus from 1967, the year he moved to Santa Fe.
Finally, each person in attendance received a vintage Rodrigue museum poster as a surprise “lagniappe” on this special occasion.
Thank you to everyone with the Women’s International Study Center and the Acequia Madre House. Thank you, always, to my husband, Douglas Magnus. And thank you to the Santa Fe community! I’m truly touched by your interest and enthusiasm, and I look forward to expanding these offerings in the future.
Cover image: Wendy Rodrigue shares artwork by her late husband, George Rodrigue, including Rodrigue’s last self-portrait, dated 2013. Acequia Madre House, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photographed by Mark Berndt for the Women’s International Study Center.