At Naiserelangi, from Ratu Jonii Mandraiwiwi's "Yavu," July 14, 1891

John La Farge1891

Huntington Museum of Art

Huntington Museum of Art

John LaFarge and historian Henry Adams had traveled to Japan together in 1886, a trip that yielded source material for a book and a number of watercolors by LaFarge. By 1890, the peripatetic traveler Adams had convinced LaFarge to join him once again for an excursion, this time to the South Seas. Leaving San Francisco on August 23, the pair, accompanied by La Farge's Japanese servant Rioza Awoki, set sail on what would be a yearlong journey.

On July 13, 1891, the steamer on which Adams and La Farge were traveling ran aground near Tongavere in Fiji. They disembarked from the craft and were entertained by a local magistrate, Ratu Joni Mandraiwiwi, while waiting for the tide to lift the boat from the sands. The next day, the party traveled to the home of their host in Naiserlangai, where La Farge painted this view during a relaxing afternoon. His talent as a watercolorist is clearly evident in the exceptional draftsmanship and brilliant washes of color seen in this work. The array of bright greens and blues combine with carefully selected earth tones to evoke a clear picture of the lush tropical environment he observed.

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  • Title: At Naiserelangi, from Ratu Jonii Mandraiwiwi's "Yavu," July 14, 1891
  • Creator: John La Farge
  • Date: 1891
  • Physical Dimensions: w8 x h11.25 in.
  • Credit Line: Gift of Ruth Woods Dayton
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: watercolor and gouache over graphite on paper