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Amedee Joullin (1862-1917)

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Amedee Joullin was known as one of the first distinguished Western painters to depict the American Indian within his own surroundings and landscape. His contemporaries, Thomas Hill, William Keith, and Jules Tavernier, had already skillfully captured the American scene with its picturesque life and western theme, but few had included indigenous people in their renditions. 

Joullin was born in San Francisco, California, in 1862, during the Civil War. His artistic talent was recognized at an early age and his family supported his interest in the arts. During his years in elementary school in San Francisco, Joullin was chosen to inscribe various class events and announcements on the chalkboard. His interest and skill led him to seek instruction at the San Francisco School of Design. It was there that Joullin became a pupil of Jules Tavernier and began to produce a number of saleable paintings. He eventually became a teacher at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco and divided his time between instruction and working on his own pieces. 

Joullin traveled to Paris, France for two years to gain more academic experience at the Julian Academie where he studied under Jules Lefebvre and Robert Fleury. He exhibited twice in the Paris Salon and was later honored by the Academy of France in 1901 for his contribution to art education. 

He returned to San Francisco in the 1870s and promptly opened a studio. He also maintained his involvement with San Francisco School of Design for many years. Joullin developed an eye for exotic subjects, painting Japanese chrysanthemums and looking to San Franciscos Chinatown district for inspiration. In 1898 he took a nine-month a trip to Mexico to paint "outdoors". The paintings from his travels there reflected the tropical landscape and Aztec culture. 

Joullin also spent many months in New Mexico where he did sketches of the Pueblo Indians and made efforts to learn their customs and manners. He befriended the Indians, living with them, and they granted him the favor of posing for his paintings. He painted their living situations and everyday scenes, and was one of the few artists to gain as close an access to their private society. 

He held his first solo exhibition at the Helgesen Galleries in San Francisco receiving great praise. The works in that exhibit were a collection of paintings with subjects from all of his travels in France, Algeria, Mexico and California. He was known for bringing new cultural elements into already popularized landscapes. Amedee Joullin died in San Francisco in 1917 after six weeks of illness. A memorial exhibition was held at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco featuring thirty of his canvases of landscapes, still life, and figures, providing a conclusive retrospective of his prolific career.

Source: Archives of AskArt.com
Amedee Joullin, Christmas Eve, O/B, 12" x 14", signed    Private Collection


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