William Jurian Kaula (1871 - 1953)

William Jurian Kaula (1871 - 1953)

“His work is genuinely satisfying and stimulating to those who appreciate an artist who understands how to paint and what to paint and can put that touch of poetry and imagination into his work which appeals to every lover of nature. . . . Mr. Kaula has long been distinguished for his skies. He feels and understands cloud forms as do few artists, especially the massive beauty of the summer cumulus clouds as well as their depth and luminosity under given circumstances.”

A. J. Philpott, The Boston Daily Globe, 1913

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Born in Boston in 1871, William J. Kaula began his artistic studies locally at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and the Cowles Art School before departing for Paris and enrolling at the Académies Julian and Colarossi. While in France, Kaula met fellow art student Lee Lufkin, whom he would later marry in 1902. Upon his return to Boston, he completed his education under the tutelage of Edmund Tarbell, who had a lasting influence on Kaula’s work. 

Kaula is best known for his delicate, cloud-filled landscapes painted in New England, primarily around the Monadnock region in New Hampshire where he spent many summers in nearby New Ipswich. He was highly praised by critics, fellow artists and collectors for his compositions featuring low horizons and expressive skies.

Kaula exhibited widely in Boston at the Copley Gallery, the Guild of Boston Artists, and the Cobb Galleries, and won a medal at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition and a bronze medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.  Kaula was also an accomplished watercolorist and joined the New York Water Color Club and the Boston Society of Water Color Painters, serving as President of the latter for a time. In the fall of 1905, the Kaulas moved into a large studio at the Fenway Studios building, where they lived and worked together until William Kaula’s death in 1953. Today, Kaula’s work can be found in a number of museum collections, including the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art (1999); Vose Archives; William and Lee Lufkin Kaula, Killian Gallery, Sharon, New Hampshire, exhibition catalogue, June 22 – August 10, 1997.

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