Finding aid for Images from Tahiti

Beth Ann Guynn


Descriptive Summary

Title: Images from Tahiti
Date (inclusive): 1870-1895
Number: 93.R.90
Physical Description: 1.5 Linear Feet 1 box (19 photographic prints)
Repository:
The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
reference@getty.edu
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
(310) 440-7390
Abstract: The collection of 19 photographs taken by Charles Georges Spitz and Sophia Hoare depicts people and events as well as everyday life in Tahiti during the last three decades of the 19th century. Included are portraits of the Tahitian royal family; photographs depicting the funeral of Pōmare V; and a group portrait of M. Chessé and the chiefs of Tahiti and Mo'orea, taken at the time of France's annexation of Tahiti in 1880.
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Language: Collection material is in French and English

Biographical / Historical

Sophia Hoare, née Johnson, (also known as Mrs. S. Hoare, Madame S. Hoare, Suzanne Hoare, or Susan Hoare) immigrated from Manchester, England to Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, Charles Burton Hoare and their three daughters in 1863. There Charles established a photography studio called Hoare & Wooster; the partner named Wooster has yet to be identified with certainty. By 1868 the Hoare family had moved on to Papeete, Tahiti, where Charles again opened a studio. There is no record of him in Tahiti after 1876, and he may have traveled to San Francisco, dying there or elsewhere in the United States around 1879. Sophia took over the business and ran Atelier Hoare for over 30 years.
In 1889 Sophia exhibited her photographs at the Exposition Universelle de Paris where she was awarded a bronze medal. Prior to the exhibition Sophia signed her photographs "Mrs. S. Hoare," changing her imprint to "Madame S. Hoare" after 1889. In addition to increasing her exposure in general, the exposition was important to Hoare in that Paul Gaugauin would likely have encountered her photographs there. Gauguin would certainly have become personally acquainted with Sophia once he arrived in Papeete in 1891. That he knew her work is evidenced by the inclusion of one of her photographs of King Pōmare V in his original draft of Noa Noa. Sophia remained in Papette until 1904 when she and her daughter Elizabeth joined her other daughters Louisa and Octavia in San Francisco. Sophia died sometime between 1910 and 1920. The final disposition of Atelier Hoare is unknown.
The French photographer, Marie-Charles Georges Henri Spitz, known as Charles Spitz or Georges Spitz, was born in Marmoutier, Bas-Rhin, on September 22, 1857, and died in Brest, Finistere, on January 9, 1894. He arrived in Tahiti in 1879 as a member of the French naval infantry and was released from duty in 1880. He remained in Tahiti and opened a studio in Papeete. His connection to the Hoare studio, if any, is unclear. After Spitz's death Frank Homes married his widow and took over his studio, eventually passing it to Spitz's son George (known as Loulou) who stamped his photographs "Spitz Curio Store."
Like Sophia Hoare, Spitz exhibited at the 1889 Exposition Universelle de Paris and also won awards. Again, it is likely that Gauguin first became acquainted with Spitz's photography through the exposition and likely encountered the photographer in Tahiti. While several of Spitz's photographs have been attributed as sources for Gauguin's work, the connection between Spitz's image of a figure drinking from a forest waterfall and Gauguin's various versions of Pape Moe (1883-1894) is perhaps the closest.
Sources consulted:
Giles, Keith, "Charles Burton Hoare (1833-c1879), a Mancunian in Paradise," http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/dbtw-wpd%5Cphotographers%5Cessays%5CHoare.pdf
Geaneant entry for Marie-Charles Georges Henri Spitz, https://gw.geneanet.org/efrogier?lang=en&n=spitz&oc=0&p=marie+charles+georges+henri

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

Images from Tahiti, 1870-1895, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 93.R.90.
http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa93r90

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired in 1988 and 1992.

Processing Information

The finding aid was written by Beth Ann Guynn in 2019.

Digitized Material

The collection was digitized by the repository in 2019 and the images are available online:

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection of 19 albumen photographs taken by Charles Georges Spitz and Sophia Hoare depicts people and events as well as everyday life in Tahiti during the last three decades of the 19th century. Portraits of the Tahitian royal family include a photomontage of family members by Hoare, and portraits of Tamatao and Terutapunui, the brothers of Pōmare V, King of Tahiti. Four photographs depict the funeral of Pōmare V in June 1891: two show the king lying in state, and two show the exterior of the royal palace draped in mourning, one with the funeral carriage leaving the palace. These photographs are accompanied by a photocopy of a note written by Pōmare to Papeete's police commissioner in 1891 (original note in Tahitian and a French translation), requesting help in finding a lost dog.
Other portraits include one of Admiral Marc de St. Hilaire, commander of the "Duquesne" and a group portrait of M. Chessé and the chiefs of Tahiti and Mooréa, taken by Hoare at the time of France's annexation of Tahiti in 1880.
Images of Tahiti and Tahitians include a schooner wrecked on the reefs of Papeete; views of the town of Papeete; the lighthouse at Venus Point; groups of Tahitians posed in front of their homes, and a studio portrait of four young Tahitian men and women.
Eleven photographs are annotated in French, in two distinct hands; four of these have Spitz's wet stamp in red ink on the verso: Photographie instantanée G. Spitz, Papeete, Tahiti. Eight prints are from a disbound album from the repository's Joseph Armstrong Baird collection of nineteenth century architectural photographs (accession no. 88.R.8) and are annotated in English in Baird's hand. All of the prints are mounted.

Arrangement

Arranged in a single series: . Series I: Images from Tahiti, 1870-1895

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Names

Hoare, Sophia
Pomare, V (King of Tahiti), 1839-1891
Spitz, Marie-Charles Georges Henri, 1857-1894

Subjects - Topics

Funeral rites and ceremonies -- French Polynesia -- Tahiti (Island)
Tahitians -- Portraits

Subjects - Places

Tahiti (French Polynesia : Island) -- Description and travel.
France -- Colonies -- Oceania
Papeete (Tahiti)

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographs, Original.
Albumen prints -- Society Islands -- Tahiti -- 19th century
Postmortem photographs -- Society Islands -- Tahiti -- 19th century


Container List

box 1

Images from Tahiti, 1870-1895

Images from Tahiti (digitized version): 1870-1895

Arrangement

In no discerable order. Collection arranged by cataloger.
 

Mounted photographs, 1870-1891

 

93.R.90-1 Spitz, Charles, Le Palais Royal, tendu de draperies de deuil, après la mort du roi, 1891

Scope and Content Note

Title from ink caption on mount along right edge of image.
 

93.R.90-2 Spitz, Charles, Interieur du Palais Royal, chambre mortaire, 1891

Scope and Content Note

Title from ink caption on mount along right edge of image. Wet stamp in red ink on verso: Photographie instantanée G. Spitz, Papeete, Tahiti.
 

93.R.90-3 Spitz, Charles, Pōmare V, dernier roi de Tahiti, sur son lit de mort, 1891

Scope and Content Note

Title from ink caption on mount along right edge of image. Caption continues...né à Taravaõ le 3 Novembre 1839, roi de Tahiti le 24 Septembre 1877, decedé à Papeete le 12 Juin 1891. Wet stamp in red ink on verso: Photographie instantanée G. Spitz, Papeete, Tahiti.
 

93.R.90-4 Spitz, Charles, Le char funebre quittant a Palais Royal, 1891

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation written on verso. The image is made from two glass plate negatives.
 

93.R.90-5 Photographer unknown, Tamatoa a-tu Pōmare, frère du Roi Pōmare V, between 1870 and 1881

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso. Portrait of Tamatoa V, of Raiatea and Taha'a. The photographer is likely either Charles or Sophia Hoare.
 

93.R.90-6 Spitz, Charles, Terutapunui, frère du Roi Pōmaré, between 1880 and 1888

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso.
 

93.R.90-7 Spitz, Charles, Admiral Marc de Saint Hilaire commandant le "Duquesne," between 1885 and 1888,

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso. The unarmored steamer, Duquesne, the flagship of the French navy's Pacific squadron, toured the South Pacific from 1885 to 1888. During its anchorage in Papeete King Pōmare V made a state visit to the ship.
 

93.R.30-8 Spitz, Charles, Cardella, maire de la ville de Papeete, 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso.
 

93.R.30-9 Spitz, Charles,Tahitienne, demi-blanche anglaise, 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on mount below image.
 

93.R.90-10 Spitz, Charles, Naufrage d'une goèlette sur les récifs de Papeete, 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso. Wet-stamp in red ink on verso: Photographie instantanée G. Spitz, Papeete, Tahiti.
 

93.R.90-11 Hoare, Sophia, Annexion de Tahiti à la France: M. Chessé et les chefs de Tahiti et Mooréa, 1880

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on verso. The individuals in the group portrait all have red numbers inked on their chests or legs, but no key is included. Isidore-Henri Chessé was the French governor of Tahiti at the time of the annexation.
 

93.R.90-s1 Letter from Pōmare V, 1891

Scope and Content Note

Photocopy of a note (and French tranlation) written by Pōmare V to the police commissioner of Papeete on 7 February 1891, requesting help with finding a lost dog.
 

Photographs from disbound album, 1870-1895

Scope and Content Note

The album pages are from a disbound album previously owned by Joseph Armstrong Baird and are annotated on the mounts in his hand.
 

93.R.90-12 Hoare, Sophia, La famille royal, Papette, Tahiti, 1885

Scope and Content Note

Title from photograph. This is an oval-shaped photomontage of individual oval-shaped portraits of members of the royal family of Tahiti. Two rings of portraits surround a portrait of Pōmare I. The montage was created by French photographer Sophei Hoare, from earlier paintings and photographs by others, including Charles Hoare, as well as from photographs taken by herself.
 

93.R.90-13 Spitz, Charles, Papeete, 1887 or 1888

Scope and Content Note

Title from annotation on mount below image. View looking down on Papeeete and its harbor.
 

93.R.90-14 Spitz, Charles, [Lighthouse at Venus Point], 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount belwo image: Venus Point Tahiti.
 

93.R.90-15 Spitz, Charles, [Street View, Tahiti], 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount below image: Tahiti.
 

93.R.90-16 Spitz, Charles, Danse tahitienne la Upa Upa, 1880s

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount below image: Tahiti. Title and date from Grob Gallery exhibition, Gauguin, Tahiti and Photography.
 

93.R.90-17 Hoare, Sophie (?), [Four Tahitians], 1870s

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount below image: Tahiti. Studio portrait of a young Tahitian man and two young Tahitian women, seated, with another young man standing behind them and carrying fruit on a pole.
 

93.R.90-18 Spitz, Charles, [Portrait of the Pueu Family], approximately 1895

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount below image: Tahiti. The family is sitting in front of a thatched house.
 

93.R.90-19 Spitz, Charles, Tahitien pêchant au harpon dans les reifs à Afaahiti, 1889

Scope and Content Note

Annotation on mount below image: Tahiti. Title and date from Grob Gallery exhibition, Gauguin, Tahiti and Photography.