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Jules Tavernier's oil on canvas painting 'Full Moon over Kilauea', 1887.

Jules Tavernier was born in Paris in 1844. He studied with the French painter, Félix Joseph Barrias (1822-1907), but left France in the 1870s, never to return. Tavernier was employed as an illustrator by Harper's Magazine, which sent him on assignment to California in the 1870s. Eventually he continued westward to Hawaii, where he made a name for himself as a landscape and portrait painter. He was captivated by Hawaii’s erupting volcanoes—a subject that was to pre-occupy him for the rest of his life, which was spent in Hawaii, Canada and the western United States. He is considered the most important artist of Hawaii’s Volcano School. Tavernier died in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1889. His students included David Howard Hitchcock (1861-1943), Amédée Joullin (1862-1917), Charles Rollo Peters (1862-1917) and Manuel Valencia (1856-1935).

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art (Provo, UT), the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Springs, CO), the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), the Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, OK), Hearst Art Gallery (Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga, CA), the Honolulu Academy of Arts,), the Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney, NE), the Oakland Museum of California, the San Diego Museum of Art, The Stark Museum of Art (Orange, TX), the Society of California Pioneers (San Francisco, CA), the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (Hagerstown, MD) and the Yosemite Museum (Yosemite National Park) are among the public collections holding paintings by Jules Tavernier.


  • Forbes, David W., Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1992, 95-209.
  • Maier, Steven, Jules Tavernier: Hawaiʻi’s First Real Painter, Honolulu, Nov. 1996, 80.

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