Scene De Danse Aux Iles Sandwich / [Dance Scene in the Sandwich Islands].
10 x 14.5 in (25.4 x 36.83 cm)
This c. 1845 chromolithograph Lauvergne view is one of the earliest representations of a Hawaiian lūʻau (luau). Hawaiians dance and feast while a crowd including crewmembers of the French ship La Bonite observe. The view was sketched by Barthélémy Lauvergne, one of the resident artists on the Bonite Expedition (1836 -1837), a French scientific and diplomatic circumnavigation.
The LūʻauThe lūʻau, or as it is common called, luau, is a traditional Hawaiian dance and feast. The lūʻau as we know it today came into being around 1818, when King Kamehameha II (1797 - 1824) assume the throne and, as one of his first acts, voided the religious kapu (taboo) system. Under the kapu, system men and women ate and celebrated separately. To underscore his point, Kamehameha II order a public festival where he ate and celebrated with women - thus formalizing the change. Afterwards, the lūʻau became a favorite of visiting foreign dignitaries, who delighted in the exotic foods and, to their eyes, risqué dancing.
The Bonite ExpeditionThe French ship La Bonite undertook a voyage of scientific and geographic exploration in 1836 - 1837. Led by Auguste-Nicolas Vaillant (1793 - 1858), the voyage circumnavigated the globe, en route disembarking diplomats at various posts. Along the way, important observations were made that contributed to several fields, especially botany and zoology. A large account of the voyage was written upon the ship's return and divided into thematic volumes, including an album of drawings by the ship's artists, Théodore Auguste Fisquet and Barthélémy Lauvergne. Unlike Cook's voyage, the Bonite was particularly fortunate and no sailors were lost throughout the expedition.
Publication History and CensusThis view was published as part of the huge multivolume work Voyage autour du monde exécuté pendant les années 1836 et 1837 sur la corvette La Bonite commandée par M. Vaillant, capitaine de vaisseau, and appears to have been part of the 99 plates included in the Album historique. It was sketched by Barthélémy Lauvergne, edited by Claude Arthus Bertrand, and printed using a lithograph technique by the firm Lemercier, Benard et Compagnie (specifically, Adolphe Jean Baptiste Bayot). It was published in London by Ackermann and Co. Because of the variety of catalogue entries for the Voyage autour du monde and the Album historique, the prevalence of this view is difficult to know with certainty. It is cataloged in the holdings of the National Library of Australia and the Album historique is cataloged in a small handful of libraries in Europe. This view is scarce to the market.
Barthélemy Lauvergne (July 4, 1805 - November 15, 1871) was a French painter, maritime, and landscape artist active throughout the middle years of the 19th century. Lauvergne was born in Tulon and mastered drawing under Pierre Letuaire (1798 - 1885). He was immediately drawn the exotic and began to travel son after reaching adulthood - circumnavigating the world three times. He first accompanied the French naval officer Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (1790 - 1842) onboard the L'Astrolabe (1826 - 1829), then Cyrille Pierre Théodore Laplace (1793 - 1875) on La Favorite (1830 - 1832), and finally Auguste-Nicolas Vaillant (1793 - 1858) La Bonite (1836 - 1837). He also participated as an artist on Arctic voyages to Iceland, Spitzbergen, Finland, and Norway. In February of 1841 he was appointed to the Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Marine, where with government sponsorship, he published hundreds of finely lithographed images from his voyages - creating unique visual record of cultural interactions between European explorers and indigenous peoples. He painted a portrait of Napoleon III in 1851. Lauvergne retired to his hometown, Toulon, in 1863, and died 8 years later in 1871. More by this mapmaker...
Rose-Joseph Lemercier (June 29, 1803 - 1887) was a French photographer, lithographer, and printer. One of the most important Parisian lithographers of the 19th century, Lemercier was born in Paris into a family of seventeen children. His father was a basket maker, and he even began working as a basket maker at the age of fifteen, but Lemercier was drawn to lithography and printing and soon entered into an apprenticeship with Langlumé, where he worked from 1822 until 1825. After working for a handful of other printers, Lemercier started his own firm in 1828 at 2, rue Pierre Sarrazin with only one printing press. He subsequently moved a few more times before arriving at 57, rue de Seine, where he founded the printing firm Lemercier and Company. Lemercier created the firm Lemercier, Bénard and Company in 1837 with Jean François Bénard. Lemercier bought out Bénard's share in the firm in 1843 and, since his two sons died at a young age, he decided to bring his nephew Alfred into the business beginning in 1862, who would progressively take on more and more responsibility in running the firm. Between 1850 and 1870, Lemercier's firm was the largest lithographic company in Paris. The firm began to decline in prestige in the early 1870s, and, after Lemercier's death in 1887, its descent only quickened. It is unclear when the firm closed, but Alfred directed the firm until his death in 1901. Learn More...
Claude Arthus-Bertrand (1769-1840) was a French army officer during the French Revolution. In the Napoleonic era, he founded a firm (Arthus-Bertrand, 1803 – present) that specializes in producing military medals, decorations, and insignia, often for the French government. Arthus-Bertrand was also an enthusiast of scientific expeditions and founded a publisher to promote them, which became the official editor of the Ministère de la Marine in the 1830s, where it oversaw the publication of the accounts of the 1836 – 1837 Bonite expedition that circumnavigated the globe. Learn More...
Adolphe Jean Baptiste Bayot (1810 – 1866) was French lithographer who specialized in depictions of battles in various locations throughout the world. Learn More...
Album Historique, (Paris: Arthus Bertrand), c. 1841.