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Photographic material and newspaper clippings relating to Juliette Henry, 1867 - 1920
zoom image
Lucien Henry in his Sydney studio, c 1890


Object statement
Framed photographs (4), newspaper clippings (3), a mounted photograph and a photograph album, relating to Mme Juliette Henry, albumen / paper / wood / glass / ink / pencil, photographer unknown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1867-1920
Lucien Felix Henry was born in 1850 in Provence, in the south of France. He arrived in Paris to study art in 1867 and was accepted into Gerome's studio at the Ecoles des Beaux Arts. His studies were disrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris. He played a leading role in the popular movement to defend the Paris Commune in 1871 as Chef de la Legion, responsible for the defence of the 14th arrondissement. After their defeat Henry, with some 4000 other Communards, was incarcerated in the French penal colony of New Caledonia for seven years. In 1879 the Communards were amnestied and Henry arrived in Sydney.

This coincided with the International Exhibition held in Sydney, which ushered in a decade of prosperous growth within the colony. Henry successfully argued for state involvement in art education and by the end of the decade he had become a widely respected teacher and artist at Sydney Technical College. His Parisian art education had encouraged interdisciplinary work between the arts & industry which he sought to foster locally. His major project was to be a book entitled 'Australian Decorative Arts' for which he made some one hundred watercolour designs between 1889-91. He returned to Paris to seek a publisher although the accompanying text remained largely unwritten. Unfortunately the severe economic depression of the 1890s made publication of such a lavish work impossible. Henry died in France in 1896.

Few of Henry's oil paintings survive. 'La Baie du Mirroir, New Caledonia' is the only known painting to represent his experience of seven years incarceration as a political prisoner. He painted it soon after he arrived in Australia in 1879. It was first shown at the Garden Palace when the Sydney International Exhibition was in its final month, in December 1880.

The painting appears to have been used as an exercise in teaching. Its composition reflects the legacy of Henry's Parisian training in mid nineteenth century neo-classical landscape painting. The work does not depict a specific place in New Caledonia but is a more generalised memory of the Pacific island landscape and the Kanak people. Members of a Kanak family gaze to the sea, contemplating their world at sunset - a melancholic metaphor for their imminent colonisation. The depiction of indigenous people was a popular theme for colonial landscapes, offering an exotic flavour for metropolitan viewers.

In 1911 the museum acquired Lucien Henry's unpublished book illustrations, a series of elegant and fanciful watercolour designs. His time in New Caledonia was crucial to these works, with several illustrations showing references to the South Pacific. The museum also has objects in its collection attributed to Henry, most notably a water bottle elaborately carved from a coconut shell depicting the heads of four Kanak clan leaders, one identifiable as Atai.

Henry was important as an artist and teacher in shaping visual arts ideas in Sydney in the 1880s and 1890s. His utopian vision of an Australasian 'civilisation' in the Pacific was conceived while the federation of the Australian colonies was being planned. His public stand on many issues and his strong desire to see the development of an 'Australian style' coincided with the movement towards federation.

Ann Stephen, 2002
Donor acquired various Henry family effects from Mme Henry's descendents in New South Wales in the 1970s when he purchased several of Lucien Henry's paintings.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Framed photographs (4), newspaper clippings (3), a mounted photograph and a photograph album, relating to Mme Juliette Henry, albumen / paper / wood / glass / ink / pencil, photographer unknown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1867-1920

A collection of photographic material and three newspaper clippings relating to Juliette Henry, wife of Lucien Henry. The photographs include two portraits of Juliette Henry. One is a 3/4 length portrait mounted on card. The other is a hand coloured 1/2 length portrait of Juliette Henry fixed in an oval, gold coloured mount. This photograph has been removed from its frame revealing an envelope containing three press clippings, two of which are obituaries for Juliette Henry. There are also two framed photographs featuring unknown people. These have been hand painted. One shows the profile of a semi-naked woman (Psyche) seated on a rock, while the other shows two women seated at a table. The collection also includes a bound photograph album with a green cloth cover that was owned by family of Mme Juliette Henry. There are also three additional photographs framed within a single frame. The same young woman [Juliette Henry] appears in each of the photographs.
Made: 1867 - 1920


Owned: Bondi, New South Wales
99/119/2
Production date
1867 - 1920

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1999
Subjects
+ Henry, Juliette
+ Henry, Lucien
+ Cercle Litteraire Francaise
+ Henry family
+ France
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/166501
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/166501 |title=Photographic material and newspaper clippings relating to Juliette Henry |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=1 March 2015 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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