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    Description

    JULES TAVERNIER (French/British, 1844-1899)
    Volcanic Landscape, circa 1886
    Oil on canvas
    7-3/4 x 19-1/4 inches (19.7 x 48.9 cm)

    THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST

    The distinctive profile of this volcanic crater strongly suggests it is Halemaumau, the pit crater located within the much larger summit caldera of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The roughly circular crater floor measures 2,530 x 2,950 ft (770 x 900 meters) and is 270 ft (83 meters) below the floor of Kilauea caldera. According to Hawaiian mythology, Halemaumau is home to Pele, goddess of Hawaiian volcanoes.

    In 1866 Mark Twain, the American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer hiked to the Caldera floor. He wrote the following account of the lake of molten lava which he found there, which beautifully matches Tavernier's presentation of it: "It was like gazing at the sun at noon-day, except that the glare was not quite so white. At unequal distances all around the shores of the lake were nearly white-hot chimneys or hollow drums of lava, four or five feet high, and up through them were bursting gorgeous sprays of lava-gouts and gem spangles, some white, some red and some golden--a ceaseless bombardment, and one that fascinated the eye with its unapproachable splendor. The mere distant jets, sparkling up through an intervening gossamer veil of vapor, seemed miles away; and the further the curving ranks of fiery fountains receded, the more fairy-like and beautiful they appeared."

    Painter-illustrator Jules Tavernier was born in Paris and died in Honolulu, Hawaii. Following studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he served as a soldier and war correspondent-artist during the Franco-Prussian War. His drawings of a besieged Paris were flown by balloon to London, where they were carried by the newspapers. In 1871, he permanently left his native France, and worked initially as an illustrator for the London Graphic. In 1872 he immigrated to New York where he was commissioned by Harpers Weekly in 1873 to make a series of sketches on an expedition from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In San Francisco by 1875 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. The studio he built in Monterey, CA became a gathering place for artists, but plagued by debt he returned to San Francisco in 1879. In 1884 Tavenier and his wife, besieged by debt stemming from a spendthrift lifestyle and excessive drinking despite success in selling paintings to wealthy San Franciscans, fled to Hawaii. There he discovered the island's erupting volcanoes, a subject which was to preoccupy him for the rest of his life. He is considered the most important artist of Hawaii's so-called "Volcano School."


    Condition Report*: Strip-lined and re-varnished canvas with paint film in very good stable condition.  Very slight (hardly discernible) abrasion right edge above corner.  Under UV examination, in-painting along the edges to address frame abrasion; 1" V-shaped area of in-painting in rock of upper right quadrant and a 1.5 x 3" region in background volcano, upper right quadrant; possible strengthening of second rock protrusion from left canvas edge; scattered minor stippled in-painting (restorations are difficult to interpret because of the heavy varnish).
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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