Born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, artist George Rodrigue (1944 – 2013) is best known for his Blue Dog paintings , which catapulted him to worldwide fame in the early 1990s. His art studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette followed by the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California gave him a foundation that spawned one of the greatest success stories in southern art.
Rodrigue, who began painting in the third grade while bedridden with polio, had already won local acclaim for his rich portrayals of the landscape and people of South Louisiana when Blue Dog transformed the image of the original Cajun werewolf dog — the loup-garou — into an international pop icon.
Hawaiian Blues celebrated the 1998 opening of Neiman Marcus’s Honolulu location at Ala Moana Center. The butterflies travel across the painting, or rather across the spine of the catalogue, and form a lei around the dog’s neck. As with the figures in his Cajun paintings and the Louisiana landscape, both the dog and the butterflies appear to be cut out and pasted onto the atmosphere of an old Hawaiian postcard.