Caroline Wogan Durieux was born into a large Creole family in New Orleans just before the turn of the twentieth-century. In 1913, Caroline enrolled at Newcomb College in New Orleans and studied with Ellsworth Woodward. Upon completion of her studies at Newcomb in 1917, she obtained a scholarship to attend the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. Caroline acquired a great deal of training at both schools, but she did not meet success until after she moved to Mexico City in 1926 with her new husband, New Orleans businessman Pierre Durieux.
In Mexico, Caroline met and worked with the Mexican Muralists, gaining their respect as an accomplished and unique artist. In 1931, she was urged by an art dealer to make lithographs of some of her satirical drawings. Initially she was doubtful, but by 1935, Caroline's satirical lithographs were being exhibited all around the city and garnering critical acclaim, especially by Diego Rivera, who painted a portrait of Caroline in 1929, which is now on display at LSU's Tower Museum
Pierre and Caroline returned to Louisiana the next year, where she found plenty of inspiration for her satire in everything from Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street to the New Orleans aristocracy and clergy. Many of her best lithographs were published in Richard Cox's 1977 book, Caroline Durieux: Lithographs of the Thirties and Forties, which recently sold at auction for $300.
From 1938 to 1943, Caroline served as director for the Federal Art Project of Louisiana while also being a professor of art at Louisiana State University, where she retired in 1964. During her tenure, she developed an innovative printing method called the electron print, which utilized radioactive ink. Her research in radioactive inks was in conjunction with the Department of Nuclear Science in the 1950's, and she continued to produce wonderfully abstract lithographs over the years. The Women's Caucus for Art recognized her with national honors in the 1980's, and her work continues to be sought after by collectors of Louisiana art.
To read an article about Caroline Durieux published in the Baton Rouge Advocate, please click the link below. Caroline also participated in the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, and you can listen to an excerpt of her interview here.