Charton (Ernest Marc Jules Charton Thiessen de Treville), a French painter from a distinguished artistic family in Sens, studied in Paris and travelled in Italy and Spain before embarking on an itinerant and expatriate career in Latin America. He arrived in Chile with his family in 1843 and settled in Santiago, the subject of most of his work in the late 1840s, including a 'Vista Panorámica de Santiago'. His travels took him to Ecuador (1849), Peru (1851) and Panama (1852), and back to France, before he returned to Chile, settling in Valparaiso in 1858: 'Después de un viaje a Francia, regresó a Chile y se instaló en la ciudad de Valparaíso, en donde realizó vasta obra, entre ella el Panorama de la Ciudad de Valparaíso, realizado hacia 1860.' (V. Gesualdo, Enciclopedia del Arte en America, Biografias I, Buenos Aires, 1968) - possibly the present large panoramic view of the Chilean port on the Pacific Ocean. Charton crossed the Andes for Buenos Aires in 1870, bound for France, but would remain in Argentina, travelling throughout the Republic. He died in Buenos Aires in 1877, and a large number of his works were auctioned there on 16 December 1878.
Painting in Chile in the wake of the German romantic artist Johann Moritz Rugendas (who worked in Valparaiso from 1838-42), many of Charton's views of the port are taken from similar vantage points (see for example Christie's South Kensington, 10 Nov. 1988, lot 19, sold £17,000, and Christie's New York, 24 Nov. 2014, lot 43, sold $173,000) for two identical view of the port inspired by Rugendas's much repeated 'Valparaíso from the road to Santiago'. The present view is taken from lower down the same road which plunges from the mountains to the port, and closer in, is able to describe the topography of the city in greater detail.