# 20674

LEBRETON, Louis (1818-1866)

[WHALING; DUMONT D’URVILLE] Pêche à la baleine dans les mers du sud.

[= Whaling in the South Seas]. Paris : F. Sinnett, Editeur, rue d’Argenteuil, 17 / Imp. Becquet, rue des Noyers, 37, [c.1845]. Lithograph with hand colouring, 340 x 500 mm (sheet 430 x 560 mm), signed ‘Lebreton’ in stone next to anchor, lower right; printed title in lower margin, with ‘No. 12’ and ‘Lebreton dessinateur aux Cartes et Plans de la Marine’ above; a fine example, clean and fresh and with vibrant colour.

The artist, Louis Lebreton, was a watercolourist and trained physician. He served as a ship’s surgeon on Dumont d’Urville’s scientific expedition (1837-40) and in the Paris Salon of 1841 exhibited 25 works done on the voyage, including his famous depiction of the Astrolabe and Zélée stuck in the south polar ice. He completed three paintings based on drawings of Talcahuano, Chile, which were shown in the Salon of 1843, and some time later his wonderfully dramatic rendering of a whaling scene in the South Seas – also drawn from life during the Dumont d’Urville voyage – was printed as a separately issued lithograph by Sinnett. Under the title Pêche à la baleine dans les mers du sud, this image of American whaling ships engaged in harpooning whales vividly captures the peril and violence inherent in this activity.

Appears unrecorded in Australian collections.