Amédée Joullin

Paintings in Inventory (Click on an image for a larger view)


Born in San Francisco in 1862, Amédée “Jay” Joullin formulated the ambition to become an artist during his teen-age years. His father, alarmed, found him a job in a print shop. Joullin tried it out, but eventually got fired. Somehow, he arranged to attend the California School of Design, graduating in 1881 as one of the most promising students in his class. He continued his studies with the flamboyant, transplanted Frenchman, Jules, Tavernier, becoming his roommate for a time. Two years in Paris in 1884-1885 completed his education as an artist.

Back in San Francisco in 1887, Joullin launched into a successful career as an exhibiting artist, choosing subjects as diverse as scenes from Chinatown and the sand dunes of San Francisco. In 1898, he spent eight months in New Mexico and Mexico City, taking studies of the picturesque Native American culture found in these locations. He returned to the Southwest in 1901 and then mounted a successful show at the Union League Club in New York City, selling several important paintings depicting Indian life. Our painting is a “poetic” rendition of the Isleta Pueblo, painted in after-sunset light, perhaps using this time of day as a metaphor for the decline of Native American culture. But the dark tones also create an harmonious mood of unified tones in what we now call the “tonalist” style, a way of painting made fashionable by Whistler’s nocturnes.