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Portrait, Exploration, La Salle, French Explorer, Louisiana Territory Map, Antique Print, 1937


Pierre Gandon (1899-1990)
Cavelier de La Salle 1640-1687
France: 1937
Engraving, uncolored
Numbered in pencil 28/100 lower left
Signed in the matrix and in pencil lower right and dated 1937
12.5 x 10.25 inches, plate mark
18 x 14.25 inches, overall

Portrait of the famous French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687). He is shown holding a manuscript document describing in French how “Louis le Grand” established “la Louysiane” in the United States. It incorporates a pictorial map of America focusing on the Mississippi River, together with Florida (Floride), Alabama, Louisiana (Louisiane), Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas and Arizona. The map is illustrated with charming vignettes of sailing ships, indigenous fruits, birds and wildlife including alligator and bison, and a native American on a horse. The print is framed in the upper left by a draped curtain and opposite that in the upper right is a heraldic coat of arms.

Product description continues below.


La Salle was born in France and first arrived in the New World in Montreal, Canada, where he eventually controlled most of the fur trade. His restless ambition led him to explore the territory to the west. He led expeditions down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and he is best known for claiming the large region encompassing the Mississippi River and its tributaries for France, which he named Louisiana, after King Louis XIV. Although he died in a futile attempt to find and secure the mouth of the Mississippi, his claiming of the Louisiana territory paved the way for the eventual establishment of the French colonial empire.

Pierre Gandon was a French artist active in the mid 20th century. Educated in Parisian art schools, he won the Prix de Rome for engraving in 1922. He illustrated numerous books by authors such as Rudyard Kipling and was also a painter, but he is probably best known for his philatelic designs for France, Monaco, Andorra and French-speaking African countries. His long and illustrious career designing postage stamps spanned the years from 1941 to 1983, when he was 84 years old. Some of the most commonly used and recognizable French stamps in the post-war period were his designs.

Condition: Generally very good — a rich impression — with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. A few short marginal tears restored and can be matted out.


“Pierre Gandon.” Timbres de France. 2005. (31 August 2007).

Additional information


20th Century