The Volcano School refers to a group of non-native Hawaiian artists who painted dramatic nocturnal scenes of Hawaii’s erupting volcanoes. Some of the artists also produced watercolors, which, by the nature of the medium, tended to be diurnal. At their best, these paintings exemplify a fusion of the European Sublime aesthetic, Romantic landscapes, and the American landscape traditions. Two volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, were intermittently active during the 1880s and 1890s, when interest in Volcano School paintings peaked. Getting to Kilauea, the more frequently painted volcano required an arduous two- or three-day roundtrip journey on horseback.

Printmaker and art educator Huc-Mazelet Luquiens called this period “a little Hawaiian renaissance.

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