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Erin Greenwald

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

  • Julien Hudson was born on January 9, 1811, in New Orleans. The son of a property-owning free woman of color and his father, an English merchant and ironmonger, Hudson took up his career in painting after a brief stint as a tailor's apprentice in the mid-1820s. He trained first in New Orleans with itinerant miniaturist Antonio Meucci and later in Paris with well-known artist Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol.

    Hudson's story is alluring, frustrating, and poignant. An artist who died young and left a fragmentary body of work, he offers a path into a unique historical moment in a city that has always provided ample fodder for commentary, invention, fantasy, and fascination. His artistic reputation rests upon a handful of secure paintings and a group of attributed works.

    In Search of Julien Hudson, is the most thorough examination to date of Julien Hudson and his world. Carefully researched and written by art historian William Keyse Rudolph and historian Patricia Brady, In Search of Julien Hudson serves as a guide to a 2011 exhibition by the same name curated by Rudolph at The Historic New Orleans Collection, Gibbes Museum of Art, and Worcester Art Museum. 

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