Vidette in Pirogue
FES Title: Vidette in Pirogue
Alternate Titles: A Pirate of the Gulf
[1912]; On Guard-A Pirate of the Gulf (1912, 1913); The Pirate (1991, 2003); Jean Lafitte [2001]; “There was always on guard one who sat and watched the gulf” [2006]
Date: 07/31/1911
Size: 22″H x 33″W
Medium: oil-on-canvas
Type: illustration
Published: Schoonover, Frank E. “In the Haunts of Jean Lafitte.” Harper’s Monthly Magazine, December 1911: facing 82.
caption: There was always on guard one who sat and watched the gulf

The Winged Head Magazine, January 1913: cover.
caption: “A pirate of the gulf” (See Page 40) By Frank E. Schoonover

“Sketch Book…featuring the work of outstanding Delaware artists.” Dateline Delaware, September-October, 1960: 28.
caption: Illustration from “In the Haunts of Jean Lafitte”, one of Schoonover’s stories that appeared in Harper’s Monthly. At lower left is the original pencil sketch for the work.

Apgar, John F., Jr. Frank E. Schoonover, Painter-Illustrator: A Bibliography. Morristown, NJ: John F. Apgar, Jr., 1969: 12.
caption: Guarding the Gulf. Illustration from the story In the Haunts of Jean Lafitte by F.E. Schoonover, Harper’s Monthly Magazine, December 1911.

Brandywine Valley to the Bay: Art from Private Collections. Newark: University of Delaware, 1991: 112.
caption: The Pirate

Cordingly, David, ed. Pirates: Terror on the High Seas from the Caribbean to the South China Seas. Atlanta: Turner Publishing Inc., 1996: 183.
caption: Frank Schoonover’s beautifully evocative painting of Jean Lafitte that was commissioned as an illustration for the story “The Haunts of Jean Lafitte” in Harper’s Monthly Magazine in December 1911. Operating mostly among the islands in Barataria Bay, south of New Orleans, Schoonover has captured the atmosphere of the country where Lafitte had his pirate lair within a labyrinth of lakes and bayous.

Ermoyan, Arpi. Famous American Illustrators. London: Quantum Publishing Ltd., 1997: 200.
no caption

Artline, May/June 2001: cover.
no caption

Le Bris, Michel, and Virginie Serna. Pirates & Flibustiers des Caraibes. Paris: Hoebeke, 2001: 191.
caption: Frank Schoonover. Illustration pour “The Haunts of Jean Lafitte”

Reed, Walt. The Illustrator in America 1860-2000. New York: The Society of Illustrators, 2001: 119.
caption:“There was always on guard one who sat and watched Gulf.” From “In the Haunts of Jean Lafitte,” written and illustrated by Schoonover; published by Harper’s Monthly, December, 1911.

The Sewell C. Biggs Collection of American Art: A Catalogue. Dover, DE: Biggs Museum of American Art, 2002: 403.
caption: The Pirate

Smith, Louise Schoonover. “The Art of Frank E. Schoonover.” Illustration, July 2003: 33.
Caption: “Vidette in the Pirogue,” 1911. Oil on canvas, 22″ x 33″. Daybook #441. Collection of Sewell G.[sic] Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, DE.

Inscription: lr: Frank E. Schoonover / ’11
Exhibitions: 1912 Boston; 1912 Carnegie; 1913 WSFA; 1991 UD (catalog); 2001 FES; 2003 Farnsworth; 2006 HSD
Comments: 4×5 image from Biggs Museum; non-trany 4×5; index; edit; some prov info from Bwine to Bay
Commentary: In January of 1911, Schoonover and his new bride traveled to Cuba and the bayou country of Louisiana for their honeymoon. In both locations, the artist visited the haunts of the pirates, sketched the environs, took photographs, and made notes with the plan of writing and illustrating an article on the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte. Schoonover’s wife did research in the library while her husband continued to scour the bayous.
In this illustration, Vidette, leaning forward warily, waits in the ‘pirogue,’ guarding the entrance to Lafitte’s lair. The cluster of weeds, typical of the bayous in Louisiana, provides the perfect hiding place for the pirate. Schoonover took photographs of the bayou grasses reflecting his determination to be authentic about the details as well as the boat, the clothing and the objects.
In a letter to Alex H Lappe, Esq. in 1912, Schoonover wrote: “I made a trip through the various bayous to the islands and and there discovered some of the descendents of the Pierre Lafitte band…I paddled about in just such a green pirogue as you see in the picture…took up my position back of a fringe of salt marsh grass and watched the Gulf.” (archives, correspondence)
Provenance: Sold by artist to Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (December 17, 1912); Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York; Christie’s New York (November 30, 1990); Sewell Biggs, Middletown, Delaware [1990]; Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Delaware
Current Owner: