The Volcano at Night, Jules Tavernier

Jules Tavernier (French, 1844–1889) 

The Volcano at Night, c. 1885–89 

Oil on canvas 

Gift of Mrs. E. Faxon Bishop, 1959 (2562.1) 

The 19th-century enthusiasm for inspiring views of the world’s natural wonders led many artists to depict the waterfalls, mountains, and volcanoes of Hawai‘i. Many working in Hawai‘i late in the century collectively formed a cohesive body of workJules Tavernier was a chief exponent of the landscape tradition that has become known as the Volcano School, and . Tavernierin this nocturnal view of the erupting Mount Kilauea he expressed in visual terms what one visitor to the volcanoes site remarked after a tour of Kīlauea’s the crater floor in 1891: 

“Lava inside [an inner pond was] at white heat, surging, boiling, bubbling, sputtering, swashing and dashing itself against the sides, sometimes slopping over. . . . There were fifteen or twenty blow holes scattered about us, all seeming to open into a turbulent subterranean river; out of some the lava was shot with great velocity, high into the air. Others breathed a blue flame with regular pulsations of sound louder than that from the valve of any engine of man’s making. The solid lava trembling with the throes of the monster confined within.”