Louis Choris

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a German-Russian painter and explorer.[1] He was one of the first sketch artists for expedition research.

Louis Choris, lithograph by Joseph Langlumé after a self-portrait of Choris


Louis Choris was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire, now Dnipro, Ukraine to German-Russian parents on March 22, 1795.[1] In 1816, he visited the Pacific and the west coast of North America on board the Russian expeditionary ship Rurik, serving as an artist with the Romanzoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, which was tasked with exploring a northwest passage.

The Russian "Rurik" sets anchor near Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea in order to load food and equipment for the expedition to the Chukchi Sea in the north. Drawing by Louis Choris in 1817.

In terms of his work as an artist, 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."[citation needed] His illustrations on the Romanzoff expedition are therefore likely to faithfully represent the subjects he painted. After the voyage of the Rurik, Choris went to Paris where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction and studied in the ateliers of Gerard and Regnault. Choris worked extensively in pastels and documented the Ohlone people in the missions of San Francisco, California in 1816. Choris left France in 1827 for South America and was killed by robbers on March 22, 1828, en route to Vera Cruz, Mexico.[2]

Choris' works are now held in public collections by such museums as the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum of California.


  1. ^ a b "Louis Choris". The Bancroft Library - University of California
  2. ^ San Francsico One Hundred Years Ago - Translated From the French of Louis Choris By Porter Garnett, Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  • Ellis, George R., Honolulu Academy of Arts, Selected Works, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1990, 181.
  • Forbes, David W., Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1992, 23–62.


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