Lafayette, LA - Artist George Rodrigue, known for his Blue Dog paintings, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The degree will be presented during the Graduate School commencement ceremony on May 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cajundome.

Rodrigue, born and raised in New Iberia, studied at UL during the 1960s. He later studied drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. In much of his early paintings, Rodrigue used oak trees as his main subject. Eventually, his main subjects included the Cajun people and traditions as well as his interpretations of myths such as Jolie Blonde and Evangeline.

One myth, the loup-garou, inspired the artist’s most famous series, the Blue Dog. Rodrigue found inspiration for the image of the loup-garou in pictures of his studio dog Tiffany. He first painted the image a pale grey-blue and gave it red eyes. Over time, Rodrigue changed the dog’s eyes to yellow, giving it a friendlier image.

Nine years ago, Rodrigue created Hurricanes, an abstract series of Louisiana storms. In 2005, he premiered Bodies, reacting to the intensity of Hurricanes with a sudden return to classical nudes, cemeteries and oak trees.

His accomplishments have been acknowledged at many museums including the Dixon Gallery and Gardens Museum in Memphis, Tenn. This museum hosted a 40-year Rodrigue retrospective, which also traveled to the New Orleans Museum of Art. In New Orleans, 60,000 visitors attended the art show, setting an attendance record for a contemporary show or living artist.

Most recently, he was honored by UL's College of the Arts with a lifetime achievement award during the college’s annual Festival of the Arts. UL’s Alumni Association has also honored Rodrigue as an Outstanding Alumni.

Rodrigue and his wife, Wendy, live in the New Orleans’ historic Faubourg Marigny.

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