Hubert Buel 1943 Watercolor Nouméa, New Caledonia, street view, Cathedral of St Joseph in background SOLD P768

A brilliant watercolor by Hubert Buel, a view of the town of Nouméa just beginning to be touched by the War in the Pacific. An idyllic scene, only the man in uniform leaning on the car in the foreground hints at the great world conflagration.

During World War II, Nouméa served as the headquarters of the United States military in the South Pacific. The five-sided U.S. military headquarters complex was adopted after the war as the base for a new regional intergovernmental development organisation: the South Pacific Commission, later known as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Even today the U.S. wartime military influence lingers, both in the warmth that many New Caledonian people feel towards the United States after experiencing the relative friendliness of American soldiers, and also in the names of several of the quarters in Nouméa. Districts such as “Receiving” and “Robinson”, or even “Motor Pool”, strike the anglophone ear strangely, until the historical context becomes clear.

Price on request.

Hubert Buel (1915-1984)…Born: Sacramento, CA

Studied: Fresno State College (California), University of California (Los Angeles

Member: California Water Color Society.

Hubert Buel was born and raised in central California. In the early 1930s, he studied watercolor painting with Alexandra Bradshaw at Fresno State College then continued his art education at the University of California, Los Angeles. He worked briefly at the Walt Disney Studios and taught at Long Beach City College until 1940.

During World War II, he served as a United States Naval Officer in the South Pacific. He took painting supplies with him and produced a number of watercolors depicting island life and military involvement. After the war, he worked at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios as a set designer and then took a permanent job as art director at the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

Buel was a prolific watercolorist for fifty years. He often selected Bay Area subject matter near his home in San Francisco, but also painted in Hawaii, Mexico and Europe. The majority of his works were produced on location and were painted with transparent watercolors. He was a founding member of the West Coast Watercolor Society and became president of that organization in 1974.