(New Orleans, LA, b. 1930 ::: d. 2014)
George Dureau was an American artist whose forty-year career was most notable for charcoal sketches and black and white photography of poor white and black athletes, dwarfs, and amputees. Many critics have called his work homoerotic. Although lesser known than Robert Mapplethorpe, Mapplethorpe is said to have been inspired by Dureau’s amputee and dwarf photographs, which showed the figures as “exposed and vulnerable, playful and needy, complex and entirely human individuals.” His 1999 New Orleans Jazz Festival painting depicting Professor Longhair is widely regarded as the most impressive of all the Jazz Fest posters.
Many of his pieces are held at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Several of his works are displayed publicly throughout New Orleans, most notably, the pediment sculpture for Harrah’s Casino and his cast-bronze sculptures stand sentinel at the entrance gates of New Orleans City Park. His depiction of a Mardi Gras parade dominates one wall in Gallier Hall. One of his more popular set of works, “Black 1973-1986,” a series of black and white photographs concentrating on young black men, toured throughout the U.S. to rave reviews.