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

"Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry," on view October 22, 2017 – January 21, 2018, at the National Gallery, DC.  Shown: Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c.  1664, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Widener Collection.

ARTFIXdaily Closed for Thanksgiving Week

  • November 19, 2017 22:18

ARTFIXdaily will be closed the week of November 20 for the Thanksgiving holiday. E-newsletter ...

Read More

'Salvator Mundi' or ‘Saviour of the World’ by Leonardo da Vinci

$450.3 Million Leonardo Da Vinci Painting Shatters Auction Records

  • November 15, 2017 20:51

The $100 million estimate was apparently pretty conservative. Leonardo da Vinci's painting ...

Read More

Vincent van Gogh's Laboruer dans un champ (1889)

$1.6 Billion Auction Week Underway with a Leading Leonardo

  • November 14, 2017 22:14

New York's auction gigaweek has begun with several marquee lots in this anticipated annual ...

Read More

The two versions of Ross Bleckner's 'Sea and Mirror.'

Alec Baldwin Settles with Art Dealer Over Painting

  • November 13, 2017 20:53

Actor Alec Baldwin settled last week with New York art dealer Mary Boone after a lengthy and ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire