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Jules Tavernier: Talent Erupted

Volcano at Night

Volcano at Night

Jules Tavernier was a talented artist and a gifted person. His aptitude for art went far beyond his paintbrush. He had an ability to unite people who shared an affinity towards art. Unfortunately, these relationships would later implode from his alcoholism and rampant debt. The “master of volcano paintings,” as some liked to call him, would erupt just like the natural phenomenon he sought to illustrate. But even in his state of decay, people gathered around him to reflect the truth of his being: he was supremely talented and equally tragic.

In 1844, Jules Tavernier was born in Paris, France. His mother was French and his father was English. He grew up traveling between the two nations but made Paris his home by the time he turned 16, when he decided to study art. At the age of 20 he gained some notoriety when his work was featured at the Paris Salon. Tavernier’s art continued to reach audiences even when he served in the Franco-Prussian War. In addition to being a solider, he was a war correspondent; after capturing the events occurring in Paris, his drawings were sent to London where they would be published.

Wailuku Falls - Hilo

Wailuku Falls – Hilo

His career as a published illustrator continued post war. He became employed by Harper’s Weekly, and in 1872, transferred from London to New York. Tavernier didn’t spend much time on the east coast before heading west on assignment. Two years after landing in America, he arrived in San Francisco. Tavernier found a home on the west coast and would remain there for the rest of his life.

Jules Tavernier was a quick hit among the art community in San Francisco. He made many friends and was one of the original founders of the Bohemian Club. The combination of his talent, behavior and popularity earned him the title, “bohemian of bohemians.” At the same time, he became vice president of San Francisco’s Art Association where it was his job to organize an artist’s union called the Palette Club. Tavernier also opened a studio in a prominent area of San Francisco where artists could gather and collaborate. During this era the artist met his wife, Lizzie Fulton.

In some regards, Tavernier was successful: his artwork was highly sought out and worth a lot of money. He was also deeply disturbed. As his party lifestyle and drinking habits increased, he accumulated debt that ruined a number of his relationships. It got so bad that Tavernier and his wife had to flee to Hawaii where his debtors could not find them.

During his time in Hawaii, Tavernier created nearly 100 oil and pastel paintings inspired by volcanos. His largest work of art was a panorama of a volcano. It was 90 feet long and 12 feet wide. The aim of this painting was to put the viewer at the center of a volcano so he or she could experience the entire circumference of the natural phenomenon.

He built success in Hawaii. Despite only living on the island for five years, many people knew him as the “master of volcano paintings.” Unfortunately, even with the reinstatement of his notoriety, his alcoholism and accumulation of debt resulted in his wife leaving him in 1887.

Despite his poor state, he took on a protégé, David Hitchcock (who later became a well-known comics artist). The Hitchcock family tried to help Tavernier free himself from the bonds of excessive drinking and debt. These efforts were fruitless and Tavernier’s debt got so bad that he was forced to stay on the island of Hawaii.

He died two years later and was buried beneath a tombstone gifted by the artist community he helped found in San Francisco. The Bohemian Club made a statement that poignantly described the life of Jules Tavernier. They wrote, “Of the French artists in California, he was probably the most talented and tragic.”

Jules Tavernier was an artist who could always draw attention to himself and his work. Even when he erupted, he was loved and greatly admired.

Sources:

    Society of California Pioneers Jules Tavernier http://www.opticalspy.com/high-speed-photography-gallery.html.
    Geringer Art Jules Tavernier http://www.geringerart.com/bios/tavernier.html.

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Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, Oil on Canvas

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How would you describe Henri Matisse’s painting, shown above? First you will probably note that it is a portrait of a woman – however, it is an unusual portrait because of its strange use of color and its choppy, energetic brushstrokes.

This painting by Matisse was part of the Fauvist movement, which lasted only a few years in the early 20th century in France. The French word “Fauve” means “wild beast”. When you look at this painting, can you figure out why the word for “wild beast” came to symbolize this art movement?

The Fauvists interpreted the world around them through color, but they did not seek to represent the world using real-life colors. Instead they utilized bright, bold colors in unexpected places. For instance, take a close look at the woman’s face in the painting above and notice all the different greens that Matisse used to shape her face. Matisse’s composition is so masterful that the greens don’t seem out of place, even though in real life her face wouldn’t normally appear green.

Due to Matisse’s balanced use of bold color and his strong, painterly brushstrokes, he is able to depict the energy, or essence of the people and places around him. These two visual characteristics defined the Fauvist movement, which evolved from a combination of Post-Impressionism and Pointillism.

The most well-known painters of Fauvism are Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. They created landscapes and portraits that can be described as “simplified” to the point where they are almost abstract – yet they are still recognizable as landscapes and portraits. Even though the movement was short-lived, the Fauvist artists left behind a body of work that is both visually and mentally stimulating.

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Maurice de Vlaminck, The River Seine at Chatou, 1906, Oil on Canvas

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The Lingo of Color www.segmation.com

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=paint&iid=310124″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/310124/paintbrush-water-amongst/paintbrush-water-amongst.jpg?size=500&imageId=310124″ width=”380″ height=”254″ /]

It is said that the human eye can discern between 1 million and 7 million colors. Do you think you could name them all?

Most people can easily identify the 3 primary colors (red, yellow, blue), and the three secondary colors (orange, green and purple), plus white and black. It’s their many mixtures, variants, tints and shades that cause a stumbling block when it comes to identifying colors.

Because of their familiarity with pigments, artists have a slew of color names at their disposal when it comes to naming colors. (For instance, “I painted a Cerulean sky over an Ultramarine ocean, tinged with hints of Light Hansa.”) These terms may leave non-artists scratching their heads. Where do these color names originate?

As we discussed in a previous article, some artist pigments are named for the material that they are made from (cobalt blue, made from cobalt), or the place where they the pigments first came from (burnt sienna, from Sienna, Italy). Other colors are named for the person who first discovered the pigment that could be used to create the color (fuchsia, named for the German scientist Leonard Fuchs).

The complexity of color is difficult to pin down with the limitations of language – especially when one person claims to see lavender while another argues that the color is actually lilac. Aside from the necessity of naming pigments and hues for color-matching purposes, perhaps many color names are best left to the imagination, where poetic expressiveness can assign the most appropriate color name for that particular purpose and moment.

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