Just this year, the Wildenstein & Co. art gallery in
New York purchased the Tavernier painting from an
auction house in Geneva. It is likely that the
painting had become the property of the Rothschild
The painting was executed between 1876 and 1878
at Monterey and in San Francisco by the French
artist Jules Tavernier (1844-1889). It was
commissioned by wealthy San Francisco banker and
Sulphur Bank mercury mine owner Tiburcio Parrott.
Beginning in 1852, the Parrott family had various
business projects in California, including buildings
in San Francisco. In 1873, Tiburcio and his father,
John, became the controlling owners of the Sulfur
Bank Mine, a quicksilver mine, located north of
Calistoga in Lake County.
In the June 8, 1878 “Around the City” column in
the Daily Alta California, the author announced
that Tavernier had just returned from Sulphur
Springs “where he has been taking some sketches
for the completion of his masterpiece, ‘The Indian
Sweat House,’ purchased by Tiburcio Parrott.”
|1878 Painting of Elem Ceremony (By Jules Tavernier)
|History and Prehistory of Lake County
|Cérémonie rituelle, tribue d'Amérindiens, 1878
|Artist Tavernier at Red Cloud Agency (#1)
|Parrott and Rothschild in Painting
|Elem dance house ruins in 1906
|Sulphur Bank Mine and Elem Native American Community in 1906
Photos taken of the Elem Community and Sulphur Bank Mine in 1906 show the
relationship between the two. It is known that Native Americans from the Elem
community worked in the mine alongside Chinese miners. Many of the Chinese
miners lived in the Elem community.
One 1906 photo shows the ruins of a dance house at Elem. It is possible that these
ruins are of the dance house that was in use during the Tavernier painting.
Site maintained as a public service by Archaeological Research, PO Box 1353, Lucerne, CA 95458.