"I arrive, I love, I leave"

Pierre Loti, the ambiguous exotic

Pierre Loti en costume de dignitaire Chinois, Pékin 1900-1901 © Collection Musée Pierre Loti, Ville de Rochefort - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Pierre Loti dressed as a Chinese dignitary, Peking 1900-1901 © Collection Musée Pierre Loti, Ville de Rochefort


from Tuesday 25th June to Sunday 29th September 2013

  • Martine Aublet workshop, central mezzanine
  • Collections ticket or twin ticket


Claude Stefani, Curator of the Rochefort municipal museums

About the installation

An emblematic exotic writer, Pierre Loti was also the youngest person to enter the French Academy in 1891. He worked as a naval officer whilst espousing a dandy-voyager lifestyle and seemed to enjoying staging his own life. In short, Pierre Loti was a man of many paradoxes. 

This installation does not seek to present each facet of Loti's personality. Only those facets of Loti's character that relate specifically to certain themes have been chosen: the western view of other civilisations, the relationship maintained with them and the uncommon figure of the exotic dandy.

The installation is based around seven themes:

  • Loti the actor, which shows Pierre Loti wearing three different costumes that encapsulate the different facets of his personality.
  • Childhood: the motionless journey, the "museum of childhood", two collections that explain the origins of Loti's naval career.  
  • The Flora voyage, entering the exotic, which evokes the discovery by Loti of three Polynesian cultures: those of Easter Island, the Marquesas Islands and Tahiti.
  • Crowned friends, which examines the relationships of Loti with high society. 
  • The myth of the sailor, a central character in Loti's maritime novels. 
  • Loti and the Orient which shows two aspects of Loti through the Islamic world and Egypt.
  • The last voyage, which concludes the installation, evokes Loti's fascination with death.