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Volcano art at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park—A science perspective

March 26, 2018

Long before landscape photography became common, artists sketched and painted scenes of faraway places for the masses. Throughout the 19th century, scientific expeditions to Hawaiʻi routinely employed artists to depict images for the people back home who had funded the exploration and for those with an interest in the newly discovered lands.

In Hawaiʻi, artists portrayed the broad variety of people, plant and animal life, and landscapes, but a feature of singular interest was the volcanoes. Painters of early Hawaiian volcano landscapes created art that formed a cohesive body of work known as the “Volcano School” (Forbes, 1992).

Jules Tavernier, Charles Furneaux, and D. Howard Hitchcock were probably the best known artists of this school, and their paintings can be found in galleries around the world. Their dramatic paintings were recognized as fine art but were also strong advertisements for tourists to visit Hawaiʻi.

Many of these masterpieces are preserved in the Museum and Archive Collection of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and in this report we have taken the opportunity to match the artwork with the approximate date and volcanological context of the scene.

Publication Year 2018
Title Volcano art at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park—A science perspective
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181027
Authors Ben Gaddis, James P. Kauahikaua
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2018-1027
Index ID ofr20181027
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center