First Retrospective of Early African American Artist Julien Hudson at Worcester Art Museum

Julien Hudson, 1811−1844 American, Portrait of a Free Man of Color, 1835, oil on canvas, private collection.
Julien Hudson, 1811−1844 American, Portrait of a Free Man of Color, 1835, oil on canvas, private collection.
  • Julien Hudson, 1811-1844 American.  Creole Boy With A Moth, 1835, oil on canvas, courtesy of a private collection; photo courtesy of Fodera Fine Art Conservation, Ltd.

    Julien Hudson, 1811-1844 American. Creole Boy With A Moth, 1835, oil on canvas, courtesy of a private collection; photo courtesy of Fodera Fine Art Conservation, Ltd.

A groundbreaking exhibition opened Dec. 9 at the Worcester Art Museum entitled “In Search of Julien Hudson:  Free Artist of Color in Pre-Civil War New Orleans.” Julien Hudson (1811-1844) is the second-earliest documented portrait painter of African descent to work in the United States. Little-known today, Hudson died an untimely, somewhat mysterious death, and only fragments of his oeuvre survive to tell his story.

This exhibit, organized by William Keyse Rudolph, is the first retrospective of the artist.

Included in the exhibit are the six known paintings by Hudson, one of which may be his self-portrait, as well as work by the painter’s contemporaries. 

Initially a tailor’s apprentice, Hudson dropped that line of work to pursue painting with fashionable miniature portraitist Antonio Meucci.  Later, he studied in Paris with Alexandre Abel de Pujol, before returning to Louisiana to set up his own studio in 1931.

The work of the New Orleans native sheds some light on the “third caste” that existed in that city, a group known as gens de colour libre, or free people of color, who had a legal and social status that positioned them between the enslaved and free whites.

This exhibit is in part supported by a NEA grant, as well as by the Worcester Art Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection, and will run through March 11, 2012, in Worcester, Mass.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

More News Feed Headlines

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei, 2010

Auction Record for Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Heads in London

  • February 15, 2015 23:19

A near-billion-dollar two weeks of Impressionist, modern, post-war, and contemporary art sales ended in London with an auction record for Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Read More

 "Boy and Girl Gazing at the Moon (Puppy Love)" by Norman Rockwell.

A Sweet Gift for the Norman Rockwell Museum

  • February 12, 2015 19:10

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., has announced a gift of one of the artist's most recognizable--and sweet--works.

Read More

A 1970 Cy Twombly "blackboard" painting sold for $30 million in London.

Cy Twombly Tops $178.4 Million Christie's Sale

  • February 12, 2015 19:09

One of Cy Twombly's scribbly "blackboard" works fetched $30 million to lead Christie's auction in London.

Read More

'Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1', a 1932 painting by Georgia O'Keeffe fetched a record price of $44.4 million at Sotheby's in fall 2014.

Buyer of Record-Setting Georgia O'Keeffe Revealed

  • February 11, 2015 22:20

After an iconic white flower painting ranked the work of Georgia O'Keeffe at the top of the market for any female artist, mystery shrouded the identity of the buyer.

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

ArtfixDaily Artwire