Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo

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By Elizabeth Kornhauser and Shannon Vittoria, with a preface by Robert Joseph Geary

Investigating the career of the French-born American artist Jules Tavernier (1844–1889), this issue of the Bulletin recounts the artist's travels through the American West and examines his portrayals of some of the Indigenous communities he encountered. The story focuses on Tavernier's masterwork, Dance in a Subterranean Roundhouse at Clear Lake, California (1878), which depicts a ceremonial dance—known as mfom Xe, or "people dance"—performed by the Pomo community of Elem at Clear Lake, in Northern California.

Robert Joseph Geary, an Elem Pomo cultural leader, eloquently describes his first reactions upon seeing Tavernier's depiction of his ancestors and the significance of the mfom Xe ceremony. Elizabeth Kornhauser and Shannon Vittoria provide additional historical context for the painting and show how it recognizes the rich vitality of Elem Pomo culture while also exposing the threat posed to the community by White settlers.

This Bulletin juxtaposes paintings, prints, watercolors, and photographs by Tavernier and other artists with examples of historic and contemporary Pomo basketry and regalia to celebrate the resiliency of the Pomo peoples and highlight their continued cultural presence.

By Elizabeth Kornhauser and Shannon Vittoria, with a preface by Robert Joseph Geary

Investigating the career of the French-born American artist Jules Tavernier (1844–1889), this issue of the Bulletin recounts the artist's travels through the American West and examines his portrayals of some of the Indigenous communities he encountered. The story focuses on Tavernier's masterwork, Dance in a Subterranean Roundhouse at Clear Lake, California (1878), which depicts a ceremonial dance—known as mfom Xe, or "people dance"—performed by the Pomo community of Elem at Clear Lake, in Northern California.

Robert Joseph Geary, an Elem Pomo cultural leader, eloquently describes his first reactions upon seeing Tavernier's depiction of his ancestors and the significance of the mfom Xe...See More

Details
  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Authors:
  • Pages: 48 pages
  • Illustrations: 52 in full color
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 8 1/2'' x 11''
  • ISBN: 9781588397386
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