// you’re reading...

Pretty Pictures

Solemn Faces

Today I stumbled on a collection of paintings and sketches from a woman named Julia Colton. As flea-market folklore has it, she was originally from the Soviet Union, and had a showing in Paris at some point in her life. Her work dates from the mid 1940s through the mid 1950s and depicts portraits of solemn looking characters often in dull and muted colors.

It isn’t clear when she arrived in the US, but it’s fair to assume that the hardships of Communist Russia, the Great Depression and WWII definitely colored her often somber and tragically bleak work.


more info

alt=”DSC00847″ />







This is the grim and pensive beauty that I took home with me.



I didn’t capture the entire collection, but it’s safe to assume I’ll document more in the coming weeks.


7 comments for “Solemn Faces”

  1. I too like Julia Colton’s somber work. At what flea market did you see these oieces. I Have seen it at the Alameda Flea Market and bought a piece today.


    Posted by cynthia | October 3, 2010, 4:23 pm
  2. Julia Colton is my grandmother. I’d love to talk to you about her work that you have.

    Posted by Julie | February 11, 2011, 12:18 pm
  3. You emailed me a while back about the work you bought. I lost your email address. I’m still interested in telling you about my grandmother’s work.

    Posted by Julie | October 27, 2011, 3:53 pm
  4. Julie,

    I have a photo of your grandmother painting in 1949.

    Posted by Peggy Carlan | December 22, 2013, 3:40 am
  5. Hi,
    I’m doing some genealogy work. Julia Colton was on my husband’s side of the family. I’d be interested in seeing the photo.

    Posted by Jennifer | January 6, 2014, 11:17 pm
  6. Julia is my long lost great aunt. My father’s father had 8 brothers and one sister, Julia. My grandfather was Elia. The story I have is that the name in Russia was Colton, but to escape the pograms the boys went to Germany and changed their name to Buchalter (bookkeeper) so that they could emigrate to the U.S. I once met Julia when she visited Detroit. How can I contact Julie?

    Posted by Sheila Odnert | January 7, 2014, 9:54 am
  7. Julia is my 3rd great aunt. Like Jennifer, I’ve been researching the family for a while (through Ancestry). Sheila, I’ve heard the same story, or something very similar. I’ve been able to build a family tree with over 1500 people. Both of you are in it :-) (pretty sure).I don’t have Julie, though. We have a very fascinating family history and stumbling across these sketches only adds to the story.

    Posted by Paul Buchalter | December 15, 2015, 6:40 pm

Post a comment