Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hawai‘i As Seen By An Artist In 1816

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a famous German-Russian painter and explorer.  He was one of the first sketch artists for expedition research. 

He visited the Pacific and the west coast of North America in 1816 on board the Rurick, being attached in the capacity of artist to the Romanoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, sent out for the purpose of exploring a northwest passage.

Choris and crew came to Hawai‘i in 1816 and he painted what he saw.

Choris is said to have "painted nature as he found it.  The essence of his art is truth; a fresh, vigorous view of life, and an originality in portrayal."

The accompanying illustrations may therefore be looked upon as faithfully representing the subjects treated by the artist.  This gives us great insight into what Hawai‘i looked like in 1816.

After the voyage of the Rurick, Choris went to Paris where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction.  Choris worked extensively in pastels.

The image captures a meeting with Kamehameha I; additional Choris drawings have been added to a file of like name in my Photos section on my Facebook page.

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