In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Economics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-10 23:55Z by Steven

In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Historic New Orleans Collection
128 pages
70 color images, 7 b/w images
8″ × 9½”
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-917860-57-7

Edited and with an introduction by Erin M. Greenwald, with essays by William Keyse Rudolph and Patricia Brady

Julien Hudson, born in 1811 in New Orleans, was the son of a property-owning free woman of color and a white English merchant, ironmonger, and ship chandler. Hudson began painting in the mid-1820s, training first in New Orleans and later in Paris. Little is known about his personal life, outside of scattered details found in a handful of public documents and a pair of early-twentieth-century reminiscences by former student George Coulon and prominent Creole of color Rodolphe Desdunes. This carefully researched volume is the most thorough examination to date of Julien Hudson and his world.

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An art history mystery at Worcester Art Museum

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United States on 2011-12-14 04:47Z by Steven

An art history mystery at Worcester Art Museum

Metrowest Daily News
Framingham, Massachusetts

Chris Bergeron, Daily News Staff

WORCESTER—Forget the da Vinci Code. There’s no Knight Templars or murderous albinos, but the life and death of Julien Hudson and the whereabouts of his paintings is a fascinating “art historical mystery’’ waiting to be solved.

The second-earliest documented painter of African descent in the U.S. [after Joshua Johnson (see article “The Mysterious Portraitist Joshua Johnson”)], Hudson was making his mark as a portraitist in New Orleans in the early 1800s before dying of unknown causes, leaving behind just six canvases.

Who was the man with searching eyes in one of his remaining paintings? Did he kill himself, as some suspect? With his sixth painting discovered by a New England collector, can more of Hudson’s valuable works be found in area shops, flea markets or your attic?

An intriguing exhibit, “In Search of Julien Hudson,” at the Worcester Art Museum, offers the first retrospective about the man and the artist whose enigmatic career casts light on the lives of free blacks and mixed race people in Louisiana before the Civil War?

Organizer William Keyse Rudolph said, “The search for Julien Hudson isn’t over.”…

…For many New Englanders, “In Search of Julien Hudson’’ will provide an exciting opportunity to learn about a vital subculture of the pre-Civil War South that belies some stereotypes and confirms others.

Rudolph explained that Hudson was the mixed-race grandson of a woman who been freed from slavery and the oldest of four children born from the union of Desiree Marcos and Thomas Hudson, an English merchant and ship’s chandler.

From its founding in 1718 to its sale in 1803 to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase, New Orleans maintained a class of free people of color who were regarded as a “third caste,’’ with a legal and social status that positioned them between the enslaved and free whites.

Hudson’s life reveals many of the possibilities and limitations experienced by free blacks in New Orleans…

Read the entire article here.

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