This panorama presents a view of the volcanos of the island of Guadeloupe, with washerwomen at work in the river Galion in the foreground. The large volcano on the right is named La Soufrière, affectionately nicknamed La Vielle Dame by the locals, and is the only active volcano on the island. To the left and in front of it is the more friendly looking volcano Néz Cassé. Based on the position of the river and the volcano, we can determine that the artist must have painted this piece near the village of Gourbeyre.
In the 19th century, the presence of European artists on the islands of the Southwest Indian Ocean contributed to the development of paintings of exotic landscapes from parts of the world that had, until then, been virtually unknown in Europe.
Charles Merme (1818-1869)
The works of Charles Merme, who resided on the island of Réunion in the late 1840s and early 1850s, fall within this category. His residence on the island prompted visits to Madagascar, Mayotte and Mauritius. Charles Merme was born in Cherbourg and studied under the orientalist painter Prosper Marilhat. He embarked upon a military career as a squadron leader in the French marine artillery regiment, practicing his painting as an amateur during his various postings in the French colonies. Merme died in Lorient on 1 April 1869. His works were last exhibited in the Paris Salon in that same year.
Exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1864 with number 1348.
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