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Dureau, George (1930-2014)  
page: 1  2  

In some cases, the series featuring Tony Brown or Otis Baptiste, for example, Dureau lovingly limns a young man's perfect physique, reveling in the heroic beauty and geometrical planes of the male figure. In others, however, such as his portraits of dwarfs or of legless young men, Dureau with the same unsentimental straightforwardness discovers dignity and beauty in them as well.

Dureau's photographs have often been compared with those of Robert Mapplethorpe. But the influence runs not from Mapplethorpe to Dureau but from Dureau to Mapplethorpe. The photographers were friends in the early 1970s, when Mapplethorpe sought out Dureau as a mentor. Mapplethorpe was greatly moved by Dureau's photographs, even to the point of restaging many of Dureau's earlier compositions.

For all their similarities, however, the photographs of Dureau and Mapplethorpe are quite different. Whereas Mapplethorpe exhibits his subjects as cool and objective, self-contained and remote icons, Dureau presents his as exposed and vulnerable, playful and needy, complex and entirely human individuals. The difference is foremost a matter of empathy.

In his photographs, as in his paintings, Dureau is not a detached observer. He conveys a deep artistic and psychological involvement with his subjects not merely as objects but also as human beings. Consequently, the photographs induce the viewer's involvement, evoking emotional as well as intellectual and aesthetic responses.

George Dureau died in his native New Orleans on April 7, 2014.

Claude J. Summers

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Calas, Terrington. "George Dureau: The Figure in Excelsis." George Dureau: Selected Works 1960-1977. New Orleans: Contemporary Arts Center, 1977. [15-18].

Davis, Melody D. The Male Nude in Contemporary Photography. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

Dureau, George. George Dureau: New Orleans, Fifty Photographs. Edward Lucie-Smith, ed. London: Gay Men's Press, 1985.

Ellenzweig, Allen. The Homoerotic Photograph. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Gregg, Randy. "Before Mappletorpe--Dureau Prefers Playing with Reality to Creating Perfection." The Oregonian (January 25, 1991):

Holditch, W. Kenneth. "The World of George Dureau." George Dureau: Selected Works 1960-1977. New Orleans: Contemporary Arts Center, 1977. [3-5].

Lucie-Smith, Edward. Sexuality in Western Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1991.

Pennington, Estill Curtis. "Out of the Past: The Figurative Dureau." George Dureau. New Orleans: Arthur Roger Gallery, 1997. [2-4].


    Citation Information
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Dureau, George  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated April 7, 2014  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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