Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Julien Hudson New Orleans Antebellum free man of color artist

Self Portrait Julien Hudson (1811-1844) circa 1839 Oil on canvas

His Self Portrait shows him as a fashionable young man in a black frock coat and patterned red waistcoat. A landscape serves as the background.



Historian Alice Dunbar-Nelson wrote: "There is no state in the Union like Louisiana, hardly any spot of like size on the globe, where the man of color has lived so intensely, made so much progress, been of such historical importance and yet about whom so comparatively little is known. His history is like the Mardi Gras of the city of New Orleans, beautiful and mysterious and wonderful, but with a serious thought underlying it all. May it be better known to the world some day."

Julien Hudson a free man of color was born January 9, 1811 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, John T. Hudson was a white British merchant, ship chandler and ironmonger. His mother, Suzanne Desiree Marcos, was a free New Orleans Creole quadroon (of Caucasian and mix African origins). The relationship between Julien Hudson's parents in New Orleans was called Plaçage a recognized extralegal system in which white French and Spanish and later Creole men entered into the equivalent of common-law marriages with women of mix African, Indian and white (European) Creole descent. The term comes from the French placer meaning "to place with". The women of color were not legally recognized as wives, but were known as placées; their relationships were recognized among the free people of color as mariages de la main gauche or left-handed marriages. Many were often quarteronnes or quadroons, the offspring of a European and a mulatto, but plaçage did occur between whites and mulattoes and blacks. The system flourished throughout the French and Spanish colonial periods, and apparently reached its zenith during the latter, between 1769 and 1803. It was not limited to Louisiana, but also flourished in the cities of Natchez and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; St. Augustine and Pensacola, Florida;. Julien Hudson's parents were a little unusual in the fact that his father was a White Anglo-Saxon.


A wonderful late 18th century New Orleans collage depicting a Free woman of color with her mixed race quadroon daughter

A Plaçage relationship


Before studying painting, Julien Hudson briefly was a tailor’s apprentice in the mid 1820’s but his true calling was to be a artist. He then studied in New Orleans with Antoine Meucci, an Italian itinerant miniaturist painter between 1826 and 1827 working in New Orleans. Meucci arrived in the United States from Rome, Italy in 1818 and worked in various American cities including New York, Portland (Maine), Richmond, Baltimore, Charleston, Salem MA, and New Orleans. His wife Nina was also a miniature painter . During this period he also studied with German painter François (Franz) Fleischbein also working in New Orleans .Hudson’s learning then continued in Paris with well-known French artist Alexandre Abel de Pujol (after 1827). After returning to New Orleans, Julien Hudson opened his own studio on Bienville Street in the French Quarter in 1831 and became a successful painter and art teacher. He advertised his services as a miniature and portrait painter, and drawing instructor. During this time, many free men of color became professional artists, musicians or writers in Antebellum New Orleans. Julien Hudson, was the second earliest known portraitist of African heritage to have worked in the United States before the Civil War with the first being Joshua Johnson from Baltimore, Maryland we will have a post on him soon. Unfortunately although Julien Hudson worked in New Orleans as a artist from the early 1830 until his death in 1844 just a hand few paintings signed by him and just a few more attributed to him. We will explore paintings by and attributed to him plus painting by his teachers and other Free man of color artist working in New Orleans Antebellum New Orleans around the same time. Julien Hudson died young at age 33 in 1844 in New Orleans.



Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers, This might be a self portrait of Antoine  

Portrait miniature by Antoine Meucci one of Julien Hudson's teachers

Self-portrait, 1812 of Alexandre-Denis-Abel de Pujol



Inside of Abel de Pujol artist studio 1820's. This painting shows the inside of Julien Hudson't teacher Abel de Pujol's Paris studio during the time Julien Hudson study in Paris in the late 1820's



Ixion enchained in Tartarus (1824), by Alexandre-Denis-Abel de Pujol


L'Egypte sauvée par Joseph/ Egypt saved by Joseph 1827 by Abel de Pujol


Creole Boy with a Moth by Julien Hudson; 1835;

Portrait of a Black Man by Julien Hudson; 1835

Jean Michel Fortier III, 1839 by Julien Hudson



A portrait of Asher Moses Nathan and Son, pastel, c. 1845 by Free black man of color artist Jules Lion. This is the only portrait known in the 19th century of a white father acknowledging his mix race black son.


Marie Thereze Carmelite Anty Metoyer by French free man of color artist living in New Orleans Jules Lion

This 1830's portrait of a New Orleans free woman of color was in my collection


Portrait of a free man of color Attributed to Julien Hudson



Portrait of a Creole Gentleman, 1835 Attributed to Julien Hudson


 

Self Portrait Julien Hudson (1811-1844) circa 1839 Oil on canvas in original French Empire style frame

12 comments:

  1. Very intresting post. I see that you have put a lot of work in to it and I do enjoy all of it. Thank You for sharing some of this intresting history of that beautiful city........Julian

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  2. Hi Julian thanks. You are so welcome! I do enjoying posting about New Orleans colorful past.

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  3. Andrew, Your collection is rich and wonderful. I have always been curious, however, why Julien painted himself with such exaggerated facial features (large nose, red lips, pale skin, small head). Do you think he was trying to enhance his Jewish, white heritage and minimize hie African heritage through his self-image for some reason? Compared to his other works, his self-portrait appears almost like a caricature.

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  4. Thanks for your comment Melaine. Artist self portrait's are very personal. Julien Hudson could have actually looked like the features in his portrait or he could have exaggerated his Jewish/white heritage features, we will never know for sure unless a photograph of him pops up.

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  5. Andrew,
    I'm a graduate student currently writing a paper on the creation of "Frenchness" in antebellum New Orleans, and I was struck by one particular portrait you have posted here. It is the "1830's portrait of a New Orleans free woman of color." do you have any idea who the artist might have been? I'd greatly appreciate any help you might give. Thanks! -Whitney

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  6. Hi Whitney the "1830's portrait of a New Orleans free woman of color." use to be in my collection. I do not own the portrait any longer. it was not artist signed and I don't know who could have painted it but there were many artist unknown to us today that were working in New Orleans at the time

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  7. Does anyone know of a portrait of a man on a horse attributed to Julian Hudson?

    Thanking you in advance for your kind attention...louie

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  8. No I don't but would like to see a Photo of it if you have one.

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  9. Great posts! I am currently doing a virtual museum slide show for my colonial Louisiana history course. I would love to know if you have any ideas on sites I could use to gain images from the Colonial Louisiana period or with colonial Louisiana subject matter at least?

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  10. Hello,

    I know the identity of "Creole Boy With Moth" as he is my GGGG Grand Pere. Are you an Art Historian? I need help giving this portrait proper attribution for the sake of family history. Any suggestions?

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