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Artists in 60 Seconds: Julien Hudson


Movement, Style, School or Type of Art:

Early American History and Portrait Painting

Date and Place of Birth:

ca. 1811, New Orleans (?)


Julien Hudson is known as the first African American or French Creole artist operating in America whose self-portrait has been identified. Hudson's father was John Thomas Hudson, a British ship chandler and ironmonger, and his mother was Suzanne Désirée Marcos, a free New Orleans quadroon (a child of parents descended from a mixture of African and Caucasian genes).

Hudson studied with Alexandre Abel du Pujol in Paris after 1827. In 1831, Hudson opened his own studio in Bienville Street, New Orleans. He specialized in portraits and miniatures. He also taught drawing.

His painting of the Battle of New Orleans (painted 1839?) features the free black soldiers who fought with Colonel Jean Michel Fortier Jr. in 1815, during the War of 1812. (This painting has been published as dated to 1815, but that would mean Hudson painted the work at the age of four. Highly unlikely.)

Important Works:

Only four paintings have been identified.

  • Self Portrait, 1839, Louisiana State Museum, Baton Rouge

  • Jean Michel Fortier III, 1839, Louisiana State Museum, Baton Rouge

  • Battle of New Orleans, 1839?

  • Portrait of a Creole Gentleman, n.d.

Date and Place of Death:

1844, New Orleans (?)


Driskell, David C. Two Hundred Year of African American Art.
Los Angeles and New York: Los Angeles County Museum and Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.

Louisiana State Museum

French Creoles.com

Brady, Patricia. "A Mixed Palette: Free Artists of Color in Antebellum New Orleans," The International Review of African American Art: 19th Century African American Fine and Craft Arts of the South, Hampton University Museum, Virginia, vol. 12, no. 3: 5-8

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