"Blue Dog" artist George Rodrigue celebrated in River Oaks exhibit

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A pop-up art exhibit with a distinct taste of New Orleans is here in Houston and it's so popular it is being extended. It showcases the art of George Rodrigue, an artist from Louisiana, and shows off his "Blue Dog" paintings.

Rodrigue died in December 2013, but his family is sharing his legacy with his work.

Behind every stroke and every color of George Rodrigue's paintings is a story.

Jacques Rodrigue, the artist's son, said, "He painted Louisiana like nobody had ever painted Louisiana before."

Many will recognize George Rodrigue's paintings by his famous "Blue Dog," which brought him worldwide fame in the early 1990s. The "Blue Dog was brought to life from Rodrigue's own dog, Tiffany.

Jacques Rodrigue said at one point in his tour of the exhibit, "The whole point of this section is to show where the 'Blue Dog' was invented. It was 25 years of work."

The "Blue Dog" became a symbol showcasing current events. Rodrigue painted a version of the "Blue Dog" on the night of 9/11, portraying the sadness of a nation.

Michelle Johnson, an art teacher, said of the painting, "The thing I love about it is that he takes the 'Blue Dog' and puts whatever is happening in the world."

Houston art teachers brought their children to the exhibit on West Avenue at River Oaks.

Art teacher Mandy Andrews said, "We wanted to bring it altogether by visiting."

stricken with polio as a child in the 50's, George Rodrigue spent three months bedridden. It was then that an artist was born.

Jacques Rodrigue said, "He started to paint on his paint by numbers set and he told his parents he was going to be an artist."

That inspiration caught the attention of President George H. W. Bush. At the president's request, George Rodrigue painted a family portrait when Bush's grandchildren were young.

Jacques Rodrigue affirmed that it feels good to have his father's work around him. He said, "Every time I walk into my home or office, you can feel his presence. Feel his brush strokes."

Rodrigue's paintings sold for $50 at first. His highest-priced painting sold for $250,000.

The exhibit is free and runs until July 19.
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