Native Son

Little Red Church
The Little Red Church on the River by Clarence Millet, 1940 (Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, Acc.#1999.118.8)

Spotlight on Renowned Native Son

Clarence Millet was born in Hahnville in 1897. Although he would later receive acclaim as a popular artist, he began his working career as a store clerk in New Orleans. He was encouraged to pursue a career as an artist because of his apparent talent. Millet went on to study art in New York City. His works were shown at the New York World’s Fair of 1939 as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago. He opened a studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans where he became an active and respected member of the New Orleans Art League and the Southern States Art League, among others. He was accepted into the National Academy of Design in 1943. Millet was commissioned by the federally sponsored WPA as an easel painter. He became a prolific painter whose works gave insight into the lifestyles of the people in his area. He was quoted as saying, “I paint the things I know, see, and feel.” His art became widely appreciated in the twenty-first century. Clarence Millet died suddenly on August 23, 1959, and is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 in New Orleans.

Springtime Comes to The Mississippi
Springtime Comes to The Mississippi by Clarence Millet, 1955 (Courtesy of Collections of Louisiana State Museum URL 1997 20.2.001.)

This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.

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