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Image of Kilauea Caldera, Sandwich Islands

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Kilauea Caldera, Sandwich Islands

Jules Tavernier, American (born France), (April 27, 1844–May 18,1889)

Creation date: 1886
Creation place: United States

Other Information

Type: Oil Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Kevin and Tamara Kinsella
Accession Number: 2002.35
State/Province: Hawaii
Dimensions: 27 5/8 in. x 56 3/8 in. (70.17 cm x 143.19 cm)
Currently on view


Douglas Frazer, Ltd., Bellevue, Washington ( - October 15, 2002)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (October 15, 2002 - )

Label Copy

Born in France, Tavernier served as a war correspondent during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) and, a year later, came to the United States, where he was soon employed as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. While at Harper’s, Tavernier was assigned to illustrate scenes of the American West. After spending considerable time in California, he moved to Hawaii (fo. The natural terrain in Hawaii fascinated the artist. In Kilauea Caldera, Sandwich Islands, Tavernier depicts dramatic fire and hot lava—in brilliant orange, yellow, and red hues—as they emerge from the volcano and dissipate into softer pink and purple hues. During his time in Hawaii, he made one hundred paintings and pastels depicting volcanoes. The volcano depicted here, Kilauea, is located on the island of Hawaii, and it represents one of the artist’s favorite subjects. The term caldera refers to a depression at the summit of a volcano that typically is large in diameter.

October 18, 2914
Anita Feldman, Deputy Director of Collections and Exhibitons
Jules Tavernier
American, born in Paris, France • 1844–1889
Kilauea Caldera, Sandwich Islands
Oil on canvas • 1886
Jules Tavernier studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and traveled to Barbizon, where he was influenced by the school of plein-air landscape painting that emerged from the French town. After living in New York, where he was inspired by the Hudson River School and in San Francisco, he moved to Honolulu in 1884. Upon arrival he became infatuated with volcanoes and made them the focus of his paintings for the rest of his life. Captain James Cook originally gave Hawai‘i the name of Sandwich Islands. The Kilauea Caldera refers to a depression with a diameter of two to three miles near the summit of the active volcano of Kilauea. With an intensity of color, Tavernier depicts the erupting volcano and emphasizes the awe-inspiring power of nature.
Museum purchase with funds provided by Kevin and Tamara Kinsella
Last Updated: 8/19/2021


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Modern and Contemporary , 12/21/2013 - 00/00/00

Art of the Americas San Diego Museum of Art , 12/23/2013 - 00/00/00

American Visions: Place and Identity The San Diego Museum of Art , 10/18/2014 - 3/17/2015

Art of the 20th Century , 3/28/2015 - 8/16/2015

American Art The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/26/2016 - 8/15/2021


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Mr. D. Scott Atkinson. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 167, Figure Number: 167


Inscription, Lower right:

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