A prisoner in Port Arthur wrote a song based on the legend "Jolie Blonde" in the 1920s. It tells the story of a pretty blonde woman who left her Cajun lover for someone else. Over the years, the song has developed into the Cajun anthem.
Until this painting by Rodrigue, there was no typical look to Jolie Blonde. Although he used different models over many years, it is this first rendition of her, painted completely from his imagination, which remains his most famous.
The story goes that he had been working diligently on detailed works for weeks, and was feeling stressed and a bit bored. He awoke one night, haunted by this image, and he painted her with a loose, fast stroke (atypical of his paintings up this point), finishing at daybreak.
Jolie Blonde, 1974
oil on canvas