George Dureau (1930-2014) was a New Orleans born and based painter, sculptor, and photographer known for his focus on the male figure. His paintings command regional and national recognition, and draw on classical and baroque traditions. His photographs of nudes, street people, and people who are maimed and deformed (often figures also incorporated within his paintings and sculptures), have garnered international acclaim. Often compared to Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, Dureau’s black male nudes predate Mapplethorpe’s Black Book pictures by several years. Also classically formal, they distinguish themselves from Mapplethorpe’s work by the nature of the connection between photographer and subject. Dureau’s career has been the subject of retrospectives at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (2006 and 2011) and the New Orleans Museum of Art (2009). The first exhibition of his photographs in New York (at Higher Pictures) was in 2012. Immersed in New Orleans’s unique art and culture throughout his life, Dureau became a widely known character of the French Quarter.
His art is included in numerous museum collections, including Le Musée de la Photographie in Paris, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia.