Pierre Loti | drawings

Pierre Loti was born in France on this day in 1850. A noted writer and adventurer, he was also an accomplished draughtsman whose family included numerous artistic professionals. At the outset of his career drawing dominated, then it accompanied his writings, and finally it was eclipsed by the written word, although Loti sketched until the end of his life. The Frenchman’s journeys and preoccupations can be read just as readily in these images as in his books, ranging from an Ottoman mosque to a tattooed South Sea Islander, via admiring depictions of his brawny shipmates.

Étude d'un homme assis et accoud
La reine Vaekehu
Maison à Eyoub
Matelots de la Triomphante
Mosquée à Constantinople
Portrait aquarellé d’Ariinore Moetia
Statue de l'île de Pâques
Tatouages d'une chefesse de Rapa-Nui
Côte ouest de l'île de Pâques
Dessin 2

Further reading
Locus Solus. Impresiones de Raymond Roussel
Dress-down Friday: Pierre Loti
Obsèques de M. Pierre Loti


  1. Beautiful! I know he was a best selling author once – thanks to you I know now he was a gifted artist, too.

  2. Sorry, I only partly agree. Loti’s drawings are not consistent, which can be seen from the fact that while some of the ones you’ve chosen show insight and depth, three or four are definitely inept. Loti himself was almost certainly aware that his primary talent was writing. A sumptuous edition of his “Madame Chrysanthème” (on which Madama Butterfly was partially based) carried not his illustrations, but those of the highly respected Luigi Rossi and Felician Myrbach, as can seen here: http://www.arberybooks.co.uk/arberydbase_text.php?id=123.

  3. So much sailor iconography has an air of kitsch, but Loti’s drawings of seafaring men are refreshingly straightforward. And maybe this is just me, but I think he captures the age in a face very well.

  4. Pingback: Rose d’amour | Strange Flowers

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