This exhibition was curated by the University of Mary Washington Galleries Fall 2023 Interns:

Gabriella Alexander, Calvin Harned, Logan Kniebbe, and Rowan Tully

A special thanks to Maureen Paige ’70 for lending these works to the University of Mary Washington Galleries

“Twenty years ago, a young man, who all his life was to answer with color, arrived in Paris.”

– Elisabeth Bollee de Vautibault, A Wife’s View (1959)

Julien Binford (American, 1908-1997), came to pursue a career in the visual arts after attempting to join the medical field. When showing great promise in drawing, he was encouraged to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago, which would ultimately prove vital to his life and career as it allowed him to work in Paris in the 1930s. While abroad, Binford met his wife, French writer Elisabeth Bollee, who would abandon her life as a Countess to move back to Virginia with him in 1935. While living in Virginia, Binford was inspired by his surroundings and produced a great number of works. He later became a professor of art at the then Mary Washington College in 1946, and in 1956 he co-founded the University’s Galleries’ Exhibition Program. He would retire from Mary Washington College in 1971 to focus on his art, until passing away in 1997 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Throughout his career, Binford displayed a devotion to color that would heavily influence his artistic output. Despite his range in medium and depiction of various subject matters, his commitment to color persisted. The pieces selected for this exhibition include sketches and unfinished works that are connected by that commitment. 

“We should not want it to be forgotten that the symbols of a painter are not those of a statesman, a scholar, a philosopher, or a poet. His symbols are not words, but colors.”

– Julien Binford in Connoisseurship, Research, and Gallery Work (1971)

For this exhibition, the selected works have been grouped together based on content matter. We encourage you to see the similarities in these pairings, and how Julien Binford’s skillful use of color is utilized depending on his choice of subject.

Webster Tobacco


Julien Binford, Untitled (people by river), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP170.

Learn more about Julien Binford’s ad campaign for Webster Tobacco and his technique for a selection of pastel sketches.

Time in Paris


Julien Binford, Untitled (two nudes in blue),1934, watercolor on board, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP125.

Learn about Julien Binford’s origins, which led him to studying in Paris, France in the 1930’s.



Julien Binford, Untitled (sycamores at the Rappahannock River), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP169.

After his time abroad, Julien Binford settled in Virginia. See some of the works inspired by the state.

Religious Art


Hear about Julien Binford’s relationship with spirituality, and one of his most well known projects.

Julien Binford, Untitled (Madonna and Child), oil pastel on board, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP122.

Ungrouped Works


See more of Julien Binford’s work, including a moment where some of them were nearly destroyed.

Julien Binford, Untitled (man in purple), oil pastel on board, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP123.



See Binford’s experimentation with non-figurative works, labeled in this exhibition as his abstractions.

Julien Binford, Untitled (blue and beige abstraction), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP201.

Elisabeth Bollee de Vautibault


Learn about the life of Elisabeth Bollee de Vautibault, the former Countess who moved halfway across the world just to be with Julien Binford.

Julien Binford, Untitled (blue and beige abstraction), pastel on paper, promised gift of Maureen Paige, L.2023.MP201.

Below are all of the works featured in this exhibition. We invite you to both consider Binford’s total use of color, as well as individually appreciating pieces you are drawn to.

Please click to view the full images.

Posted in Exhibitions.

Leave a Reply