George Valentine Dureau Jr.

Obituary
11 entries | 6 photos
  • "Condolences to the family and friends. Please take comfort..."
  • "what i meant to say is: you awe-inspiring, Sir George Dureau"
  • "awe inspiring, Sir George Dureau"
    - lIsa
  • "Thank you George Dureau for all things well done, for..."
    - Dawn DeDeaux
  • "George, It is a honor to be counted among your friends. ..."
    - Rudy Manuel
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George Valentine Dureau, Jr., renowned New Orleans painter, photographer, and sculptor, died at age 83 on Monday, April 7, 2014 at Waldon Health Care Center in Kenner, LA. George was born December 28, 1930, in New Orleans, and lived most of his life here. New Orleans was his spiritual as well as his physical home, and he embodied the carefree and bohemian aspects of his birthplace. He was well loved by all who knew him, and he was known by many. In addition to his amazing artistic talents, he was also a bon vivant and a raconteur par excellence, making him a welcome guest at New Orleans parties and other gatherings of people from high society as well as from the hoi polloi. He was nothing if not an egalitarian, comfortable with people from all walks of life. George grew up on Bayou St. John, but the French Quarter was his natural habitat, where he had several beautiful apartments with studio and gallery space over many decades. Practically everyone in the Quarter knew George and was used to seeing him riding his bike up and down the narrow streets, with his long dark hair flying. George's artistic talent emerged early; he won his first art prize at about age 12. He studied art at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and also took some classes at Tulane University School of Architecture. In addition to many exhibitions of his work at museums and galleries in New Orleans, he has also had shows in many other places, including New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, London, and Paris. In October of 2011, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art presented George with its Opus Award, given each year to a member of the arts community whose life's work constitutes a major contribution to the cultural landscape of the South. The Ogden also mounted a very well-received retrospective exhibit of his work that same year. Many of George's paintings feature classical and mythological themes, and he often depicted himself, his beloved mother, Clara, and many of his friends in them. His photographs were initially done as studies for his painting, but were recognized as beautiful and haunting portraits in their own right. His subjects were usually his friends or became his friends, and his portraits of them made the viewer look at the human body and its variations in a new way and see beauty and dignity that might not usually be associated with the images he chose. George was born to Clara Legett Dureau and George Valentine Dureau, Sr., both deceased. He is survived by a half-brother, Donald Dureau, of Dallas, TX, and a step-brother, Theodore Jay Gordon, of Old Lyme, CT, an aunt, Marion Legett, of New Orleans, and eight first cousins: Dr. Benjamin J. Legett, Jr. (June); Mary Lynn Bonck; Carol Legett Fouquette; Laurie Legett Bazin; Judy Legett Martin (Bob); Patricia Legett Plache (Robert); Gaynell Legett; and Linda Legett Abele (Rod). George was beloved by his family and many friends, not the least of whom is Katie Nachod. She knew George for only seven years, but she devotedly oversaw his care during the last few years of his life. George's family and friends are eternally grateful to her and to all the members of the Friends of George group who provided encouragement and support to her in this labor of love. Thanks also go to the caregivers at Carrington Place in Algiers and at Waldon Health Care Center in Kenner who helped make George's last months as comfortable as possible. There will be a public memorial service to celebrate George's life and art on Good Friday, April 18, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art from 1:00-3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, George's family would prefer donations in George's memory to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St. New Orleans, LA 70130 or to the New Orleans Museum of Art, One Collins Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, LA 70124. David Cuthbert, a longtime friend of George's and a longtime writer for the Times-Picayune, recently described George as a "larger than life artist, a man who is a bountiful and generous human being, ready to share himself and his talent with great joie de vivre." George will live on for a long time in the hearts of the many people who loved him, and he will live on forever in his art. To view and sign the guest book, visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com.
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Lake Lawn Met Funeral Home
5100 PONTCHARTRAIN BLVD
New Orleans, LA 70124
(504) 486-6331
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Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Apr. 15 to Apr. 17, 2014
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