Auguste Chouteau

Reproduced from Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, comps. and eds., Dictionnaire raisonnée des arts, des sciences, et des métiers, Planches, vol. 1 (1762).

It is often told that St. Louis was founded by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau. However, little is known about how one man, Louis St. Ange de Bellerive, may be the original historical figure responsible for the early origins of the city.

Carl Ekberg and Sharon Person, authors of “St. Louis Rising: The French Regime of Louis St. Ange De Bellerive,” stopped by St. Louis on the Air to provide historical insight that challenges the often told story about the discovery of St. Louis.

Private Collection / courtesy Kodner Gallery

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, the Sheldon Art Galleries has organized a major exhibition depicting the founding of the city and the people involved. Imagining the Founding of St. Louis includes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by a variety of noted artists.

Sheldon Art Galleries Director and co-curator of the exhibit Olivia Lahs-Gonzales commented, “Obviously this all happened before the advent of photography so there was no photographer on the boat with the explorers, so it’s really left up to artists to kind of imagine what it was like.”