The Exiles–New Work from Julyan Davis

Artist Julyan Davis often tells a story with his work. In his new work, we learn the story of ‘The Exiles.’
Shortly after leaving art school in London, England, Julyan read about the Bonapartist exiles. These were French men and women, among them Napoleon’s foremost generals and many aristocrats, forced to leave France after Napoleon’s final defeat. They landed in southwest Alabama-where the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers meet-and founded the town of Demopolis. Their efforts to cultivate a ‘vine and olive’ colony there soon failed and these exiles either were able to return to France or moved to settle in the comparative civilization of Mobile or New Orleans. The story captured Julyan’s imagination, so much so that he came to America in search of what was left of the exile community. Unfortunately, he found there was not much left, but the almost folktale-like history stayed with him and now we are excited to see his vision of what it must have been like in the world of ‘The Exiles.’.
‘Un Songe un Peu Moins Inconstant’  oil on canvas  38″ x 38″  2015
In particular the story of Madame Raoul, the Marchioness de Sinabaldi stuck with the young artist. ‘It was important for me to paint the myth more than anything-how I imagined, how I dreamed of her story as an immigrant in the New World,’ says Julyan of Madame Raoul. Her husband had led the vanguard upon Napolen’s return from Elba. She was Italian and had formerly served as maid of honor to Queen Caroline of Naples. Coming to the shores of Alabama must have been quite a shock.
‘These two first paintings explore two differing avenues. The above is imagined, dream-like. The second, below, is more descriptive.’


‘Il Me Semble Que Je Reve’ oil on canvas  42″ x 36″ 2015
‘Il me semble que je reve; car la vie est unsonge un peu moins inconstant’
‘for life is a dream, but somewhat less changeable.’
–Blaise Pascal, PenseesFor more about The Exiles please read Julyan’s full blog post HERE.

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