New Iberia, Louisiana
Born and raised in the heart of Cajun country Rodrigue's work has remained rooted in the familiar milieu of home. He began painting in the third grade while bedridden with polio. During the mid-1960s, following four semesters at the University of Southwest Louisiana, he attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. His career with rich portrayals of the landscape and people of South Louisiana using the oak tree as his main subject in hundreds of paintings in the early 1970s. Rodrigue eventually expanded his subjects to include Cajun people and traditions, as well as his interpretations of myths such as Jolie Blonde and Evangeline. He was catapulted into worldwide fame in the early 1990s though his Blue Dog paintings which he transformed the image of the Cajun werewolf dog - the loup-garou - into an international pop icon using his own dog,Tiffany, as his muse.
Museums continue to acknowledge Rodgrigue's accomplishments, particularly following the release of the monograph The Art of George Rodrigue (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 2003). The Dixon Gallery and Gardens Museum in Memphis, Tennessee hosted a 40-year Rodrigue retrospective in July 2007, which then traveled to the New Orleans Museum of Art in the spring of 2008, where the museum received 60,000 visitors, an attendance record for a contemporary show or living artist. In 2009, the University of Louisiana's College of Arts in Lafayette hosted Rodrigue exhibitions at the University Art Museum and the Acadiana Center for the Arts, in addition to awarding him an honorary doctorate. Governor Bobby Jindal furthered those honors when he declared Rodrigue the Artist Laureate for the State of Louisiana.
In 1989 Rodrigue opened his own gallery on Royal Street in New Orleans' French Quarter and in 1991 he followed with a gallery in Carmel, California. He opened in the Lafayette Oil Center in 2005, just down the street from his first gallery.