George Dureau, 1931-2014

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George Dureau, Arthur Desilva, 1989. Courtesy Arthur Roger GalleryGeorge Dureau, Arthur Desilva, 1989. Courtesy Arthur Roger Gallery

New Orleans photographer George Dureau passed away on April 7 at the age of 83.  In sculptures, drawings and photographs, Dureau focused on the human figure, but he was perhaps best known for his black-and-white nude portraits of men, some explicitly homoerotic, and some picturing men with missing limbs. “I think he had a way of depicting his subjects (including amputees and dwarves) that was very frank but very evocative at the same time,” Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, told the Times-Picayune. “He did it in a way that seemed powerful and heroic.”

Born in New Orleans, Dureau attended Louisiana State University, earned a fine arts degree, and for a time decorated department store windows. After serving in the Army, he studied architecture at Tulane and became a fine artist. 

Dureau, who influenced the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, among others, may have been better known had he moved to New York, but he remained a lifelong resident of New Orleans.