| Jules Tavenier is primarily known as Jules Tavernier
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Perhaps best remembered for his volcano paintings of Hawaii, Jules
Tavernier also painted notable scenes of the West. Born in
Paris, Jules Tavernier had a father who was English and a French
mother, and Jules claimed British citizenship. As a child
he lived in both England and France. As a young man he studied
with artist Felix Barrias in Paris, and in 1864 began to exhibit at the
Paris Salon. He also painted in Barbizon, France. |
At the start of the Franco-Prussian War, Tavernier volunteered for
service. At the end of the war he took advantage of his British
citizenship and moved to London where he worked as an
illustrator. From London he moved to New York where he
continued to work in illustration. In New York, he spent time
with artist Paul Frenzeny (1840-1902), who worked at Harper’s, as did Tavernier. In 1873 the two got an assignment to travel in the West, sketching scenes for the magazine.
Tavernier and Frenzeny spent time in Missouri, Texas, Colorado,
Nebraska, Utah, and various other places before arriving in San
Francisco in 1874. Their sketches of the Nebraska Sioux include
some of the earliest depictions of particularly sacred rituals.
In 1875 the two artists became members of the Bohemian Club in San
Francisco, a group of creative people. Members were
newsmen, artists, musicians, actors, and businessmen who shared an
interest in the arts and camaraderie. Tavernier helped found both
the Bohemian and Palette Clubs, and was also a vice-president of the
San Francisco Art Association.
In 1876, Jules built a studio in Monterey, a quiet coastal town several
hours south of San Francisco. Paul Frenzeny moved there too, but
the two quarreled and their friendship came to an end.
Tavernier married Lizzie Fulton in 1877. Her father was from New
York, and her mother was Austrian. Their marriage was troubled,
as Tavernier’s habits of indebtedness and drinking took a toll.
He quarreled and ran up debts with Monterey locals, and in 1879
Tavernier returned to San Francisco where he shared a studio with
Julian Rix (1850-1903) and Joseph Strong (1852-1899), with whom he had
been friends in Monterey. Another friend from Monterey, Giuseppe
Gariboldi, helped Tavernier get some mural commissions, including some
for the Hopkins residence in San Francisco. Hopkins was one of
the ‘Big Four’ railroad magnates who had built the Central Pacific
In the early 1880s, Tavernier spent time painting in Yosemite as well
as British Colombia. His debts were mounting however, and in 1884,
he and Lizzie set sail for the Hawaiian Islands, escaping some of his
San Francisco credit problems.
Arriving in Honolulu, he for a time shared studio space with Joseph
Strong, having known Joseph and Isobel Strong from San Francisco. Strong and Tavernier went on a sketching trip to ‘the Big Island’ of
Hawaii, and it was there that Tavernier first saw Kilauea, the volcano
that was to become his inspiration. But the relationship between
Tavernier and Strong was short-lived, due to differences in
In 1885, Tavernier began doing volcano paintings that received rave
reception. He, along with Charles Furneaux (1835-1913) and
Joseph Strong (1852-1899) were considered the founders of what became
called the ‘Volcano School’ of painting in Hawaii, and are regarded by
many as the ‘old masters’ of Hawaiian painting. Although he
worked less than five years in Hawaii, Tavernier is often referred to
as the premier interpreter of the volcano. Many other artists
picked up the theme that he had started.
Many commissions followed for Tavernier, both for volcano paintings and
views of scenic places, as well as portraits. He worked on the
island of Hawaii, painting Kilauea Volcano, as well as the area around
the city of Hilo. His images grew increasingly grand, and he even
came up with the idea of a gigantic volcano panoramic canvas, which
envisioned would travel the country.
This panorama, Tavernier’s largest volcano painting, was a canvas of
vast proportion, twelve feet high by ninety feet long, and was intended
to be experienced as a circular view from a stand in the center.
The panorama opened to the public in Hilo in 1886 and later in
Honolulu, but was little exhibited after that.
His debts and drinking continued to cause problems, and he ran up large
bills for canvas, paints, and frames, often with King Brothers’ art
store on Hotel Street in Honolulu. Discouraged, Lizzie left him
in 1887, and returned to San Francisco. Jules was unable to leave
Hawaii, as it was required that debts be paid before people set sail
from the islands. The Hitchcock family of Hilo befriended him and
tried to help him regain his health. In addition to his drinking, he
also suffered from asthma. David Howard Hitchcock (1861-1943),
considerably younger than Jules, was Tavernier’s disciple and principal
student and is himself highly regarded for his interpretation of the
Hawaiian landscape. The two had met in Hilo on Tavernier’s
initial trip to the island of Hawaii with Joseph Strong.
For awhile he re-worked some of his Western scenes from his Hilo
studio. Other western scenes were found in his Honolulu studio
after his death. Volcano paintings are most often associated with
his work in Hawaii, but they were only a portion of his output
there. His Hawaiian work included landscapes, pictures of
waterfalls, still lifes, flowers, scenes of interiors, and portraits as
well. Several of his landscapes are in a long horizontal
format. Some are reminiscent of the French Barbizon style of
painting that had been popular during Tavernier’s student days in
By 1889, Jules Tavernier had died of alcoholism at his studio on Hotel
Street in Honolulu. He was buried at the Oahu Cemetery in Nuuanu
Valley. His friends at the Bohemian Club, on hearing of his
death, sent a marker for his grave.
www.tigtail.org, based on the book Splendide Californie, Impressions of the Golden State by French Artists by Dr. Claudein Chalmers
David Forbes, Encounters With Paradise: Views of Hawaii and It’s People: 1778-1941.
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Paris, France on April 27, 1844, Jule Tavernier began art studies at age 16 in his native city under Felix Barrias at Ecole des Beaux Arts. By age 20 he had exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon and received local recognition. After serving as an artist-war correspondent during the Franco-Prussian War, he lived in England for a year. He worked as an illustrator for the London Graphic before sailing for New York in 1872. |
With artist Paul Frenzeny, he crossed the U.S. in 1873 as employees of Harper's Weekly. Traveling by horseback, the two Frenchmen made drawings of the western frontier along the way. After arriving in San Francisco in 1875, Tavernier became an active member of the San Francisco Art Ass'n and Bohemian Club.
Following a sketching trip to nearby Monterey, he built a studio there which became a mecca for visiting artists. Soon others joined him and an art colony of "Bohemians" was formed. Although his work brought top prices, he was constantly in debt due to his profligate life style. After an altercation with local citizenry forced his return to San Francisco in 1879, he shared a studio with Julian Rix and Joseph Strong.
Deeply in debt and hounded by creditors, his desire to paint volcanoes in Hawaii led him to the Islands in 1884. His works were popular there and he became court painter to King Kalakaua. He produced about 100 depictions of volcanoes in oil and pastel. Local law insisted upon payment of all bills before leaving the Islands and, unable to do so, he remained there and drank himself to death.
Tavernier died in Honolulu at his studio on Hotel Street at age 45 on May 18, 1889. A granite grave marker was sent to Hawaii by his friends at the Bohemian Club and is easily seen over the cemetery wall.
Member: SFAA; Palette Club; Bohemian Club. Exh: Paris Salon, 1864-70; Philadelphia Centennial, 1876; Mechanics' Inst. Fair (SF), 1877 (medal); Calif. State Fair, 1880-82; New Orleans World's Fair, 1885; Calif. Midwinter Expo, 1894.
Collections: CHS; Oakland Museum; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); De Young Museum; Denver Public Library; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Gilcrease Inst.; Harrison Library (Carmel); Kansas State Historical Society; Monterey Peninsula Museum; Wichita Public Library; Yosemite Nat'l Park Museum; Bohemian Club; Olympic Club (SF); Volcano Nat'l Park (Hawaii); Shasta State Historical Monument; Beaverbrook Art Gallery (New Brunswick, Canada); Society of Calif. Pioneers.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Art Research, 20 volumes; Artists and Illustrators of the Old West (Robert Taft); American Western Art (Harmsen); Artists of the American West (Samuels); History & Ideals of American Art (Neuhaus); Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, E); Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); SF Morning Call, 6-11-1889 (obituary).
|Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.|
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born Paris, France, 1844; died Honolulu, HI, 1889. Painter, specialty of landscapes and Native American scenes. Illustrator. Student of Felix Barrias in Paris, France. |
He served as a soldier and war correspondent-artist during the Franco-Prussian War, and his drawings of a besieged Paris were flown by balloon to London, where they were carried by the newspapers.
In 1871, he worked as an illustrator for the London Graphic. Immigrated to New York in 1872. Commissioned by Harper's Weekly in 1873 to make a series of sketches on an expedition from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Traveled with 212 Paul Frenzeny from New York to San Francisco, CA. Visited Kansas and nine sketches of Kansas were published during 1874.
Traveled to San Francisco, CA in 1875 where he became active in the San Francisco Art Association and the Bohemian Club, a group of poverty stricken, fun loving writers, artists, actors and musicians. Built a studio in Monterey, CA that became a gathering place for artists but returned to San Francisco in 1879.
In 1884 Tavenier went to Hawaii to paint the volcanoes and he died there of alcoholism.
De Young Museum; Volcano National Park’ Bancroft Library; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Crocker Art Museum; Gilcrease Museum; Museum of Nebraska Art; Oakland Museum; Anschutz Collection.
San Francisco Art Association; Bohemian Club; Society of Illustrators.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
PROW (Taft, Robert. “Pictorial Record of the Old West”, in Kansas Historical Quarterly, 1946. p. 1-35; 145-165; 241-264; 361-390.); Samuels, Peggy. Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1976.; Harmsen, Dorothy. American Western Art; a Collection of One Hundred Twenty-Five Western Paintings and Sculpture with Biographies of the Artists. [Denver}: Harmsen Publishing Co., 1977. (illustration of Clearwater, Kansas); Reed, Walt. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. New York: Society of Illustrators, 2001.; AskArt, www.askart.com, accessed Dec. 23, 2005; Taft, Lorado. History of American Sculpture. New edition with supplemental chapter by Adeline Adams. New York: Macmillan Co, 1930.; Ewing, Robert Nichols. Jules Tavernier (1844-1889): Painter and Illustrator. (PhD. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1978); Kansas Historical Quarterly (Feb. 1946).
|This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.|
|Biography from Douglas Frazer Fine Art, Ltd.:|
|Considered one of the three originators of the "Volcano School" in Hawaii in the late 19th century, Jules Tavernier was born in Paris in 1844. As a young man he studied with Felix Barrias at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and exhibited at the Paris Salon for many years.|
After fighting in the Franco-Prussian war, he moved to London, where he spent a year, followed by a move to New York in 1872. In New York he worked as an illustrator for Harper’s and New York Graphic. While working on a sketching tour of the West with Paul Frenzeny for Harper’s, Tavernier discovered the charms of San Francisco, where he settled from 1874-84.
He was considered San Francisco’s most popular "bohemian" after joining the Bohemian Club there immediately upon his arrival. While his paintings were popular with the local press, and he enjoyed the companionship of fellow artists such as Julian Rix and Joseph Strong, his "bohemian" temperament and irresponsible attitude toward paying the bills caused him to have to flee to Hawaii in 1884.
A year later, Tavernier was honored to exhibit his work at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans, an exhibition of important historical paintings.
Tavernier’s greatest legacies, however, are his masterful volcano paintings completed during his five years in Hawaii. His numerous spectacular oil paintings, particularly of his favorite subject, the Kilauea volcano, contributed to Hawaii’s early popularity with tourists. They were, in fact, purchased by shipping companies with the express purpose of luring 'mainlanders' to come see the fiery lava flows in person.
His art found its way into nobler hands as well, including those of King Kalakaua and the Emperor of Japan. Often on a grand scale, many of the Kilauea paintings are panoramic.
Equally proficient with pastels as oils, Tavernier did not limit himself to volcano pictures, but also illustrated many aspects of Hawaiian life from his home base in Hilo.
Just as Tavernier was turning increasingly to other subjects, his unconventional lifestyle started taking its toll and he died of alcoholism in 1889. He is buried in Oahu, the Bohemian Club in San Francisco having sent a massive granite gravestone to mark his memory.
Sources include: WWAA; Forbes: Encounters With Paradise; Gerdts: Art Across America, vols. 2 and 3; Samuels & Samuels: Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.
By Sarah Nelson
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Jules Tavenier is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Artists who painted Hawaii