Le Moyne's work and reputation, however, were not quite so lucky. Miles Harvey tells us his own process of discovery and lets us recover this forgotten life much the way he did. Although known by specialists for his narrative of his time in Florida, Le Moyne was remembered mostly as the artist whose paintings or sketches had become the basis for Dutch engravings of native life in the New World. Le Moyne may indeed have created the only record we have of the daily life of native Floridians before they succumbed to the diseases introduced by the Europeans. After his return Le Moyne turned to botanical illustration, almost a century before that art form became popular. Those collections of illustrations have been neglected until the last few years, when the few that have been found are finally demanding fortunes at the big auction houses. After being forgotten for over 400 years, Le Moyne has finally been rediscovered. Most of us will owe that rediscovery to Miles Harvey, who reads from Painter in a Savage Land at Shaman Drum on Wednesday, June 25.
[Review published June 2008]