web Robert DEROME
Les sources iconographiques
des portraits fictifs du père jésuite Jacques Marquette

1892 William Woodruff Gibbs

William Woodruff Gibbs (1821-1902), Father Marquette at St. Ignace in 1670, oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 51 inches,
courtesy of David Walker, St. Ignace, on display at Walker Furniture 20 S. State, St. Ignace, MI 49781.

Notons ici que Gibbs semble avoir décidé d'envoyer Marquette chez le barbier pour lui enlever sa barbe ! La datation de 1892 provient de Arth 1931.04 (pdf p. 299). Les textes ci-dessous, semblent ignorer que ce tableau est une copie, moins bien réussie, de la magnifique oeuvre de 1869 Lamprecht. Trois cartes postales en ont été tirées pour les villes de St. Ignace MI, Marquette MI et St. Marie WI.

Detroit Publishing C°, 8859, Father Marquette leaving St. Ignace, Michigan, carte postale. Photo : collaboration de Ruth D. Nelson.

633, Father Marquette landing at Marquette, Mich., carte postale. Photo : courtesy of the Jersey County Historical Society, collaboration de Ruth D. Nelson.

Father Marquette in St. Marie, Wisconsin « a town which no longer exists », carte postale.
Photo : Robert E. Gard and Elain Reetz, The Trail of the Serpent, The Fox River Valley Lore and Legend,
Madison, Wisc., Wisconsin House Ltd. Book Publishers, 1973 ; collaboration de Ruth D. Nelson.


1903 Hamy ajoute encore un nouvel intitulé à la reproduction de cette oeuvre,
et une erreur par rapport à la source du timbre qui est 1869 Lamprecht.


« In 1892 William Gibbs conceived and executed one of the finest works extant in this field, "Father Marquette at St. Ignace in 1670." He spent much time in consulting historical accounts of Father Marquette and obtained his inspiration for the portrait of Marquette in the picture from a cut of a statue of the missionary executed by an artist in Montreal. After the painting was completed a certain Mr. William Spice removed it to St. Ignace. Mr. Agrell, of St.Ignace, photographed it and sold thousands of such photographs to tourists. This design was adopted and used for one of the designs of postage stamps by the government, and later adopted by the State Pioneer Society of Michigan as a frontispiece to its thirty-second volume of records and transactions. (Note: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, 30:304.) Arth 1931.04 (pdf p. 299-300).

« Though painted in 1892, Gibbs looks back the time of the French presence in Michigan in 1670. The French worked peacefully with the Indians and provided them with firearms in which enabled the Indians to have a distinct advantage over others who did not have them.

This dependence on European goods and firearms contributed to the eventual loss of Indian autonomy. In this coexistence, the Indians fought on the side of the French and helped them establish key points at the mouths of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Louis XIV sent missionaries and traders to meet with an assembly of Indians at Sault Ste. Marie and in June 1761 took possession of the Great Lakes and lands beyond.

In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet left St. Ignace and began their voyage to the Mississippi River. This painting shows Father Marquette extending a noble gesture to the peaceful Indians who also gaze in the direction of the extended left hand. The almost triangular composition combined with the noble gesture of the Christ-like Father Marquette contribute to a strong classicism of the work. The Indians are at peace, the standing chief on the left holds a peace pipe and reinforces the pointing direction towards the upper right which is filled with light-colored clouds expressing the optimism of the future. As if to complete this “religious” scene, the maiden holding a child and seated in front of a primitive structure is strongly suggestive of the Mary and Christ child theme. Even the blue of her gown is the symbolic blue of the Madonna.

In this single painting of a historical event, Gibbs has brought the primitive Indian into the world of enlightenment of the Christian religion. Just as the artist in 1906 was described as being one who went through life like one led by high and lofty ideals (Dwight N. Lowell, Sketch of William Woodruff Gibbs, Historical Collections, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, 30, p. 304), so, too, is this painting noble and idealistic. »

Source : Superior Sights n.d.site consulté le 19 octobre 2014.


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