Kolomona: Hawaiian Troubadour, Hubert Vos

Hubert Vos (Dutch, 1855–1935) 

Kolomona: Hawaiian Troubadour, 1898 

Oil on canvas Gift of Charlotte and Henry B. Clark, Jr., 1994 (7676.1) 

Born in Maastricht and educatedtrained in Belgiumat the Académie des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Hubert Vos served as Holland's art commissioner for The Netherlands at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. In the late 1890s, after meeting and marrying Eleanor Kaikilani Coney—, who was a travel companion to the deposed Queen Lili‘uokalani— in New York, Vos journeyed to Honolulu in the late 1890s and established a studio on Richards Street. An accomplished portraitist, Voshe rendered many likenesses, including this of Kolomona, a stevedore by day and an entertainer by night. Kolomona's lively minstrel style is conveyed through in the vibrant animation of his radiant face, the sparkle in his eyes, half-opened mouth, and the deftness with which he holds his ukulele. As one writer noted in Honolulu's Pacific Commercial Advertiser,:

The whole painting is a strong piece of work, brimful of life and action. The hands draped lightly over the strings of the adopted native musical instrument of these modern days, is one of the crowning features of the painting.