Two half-length portraits of the painter Camille-Félix Bellanger
Camille Félix Bellanger (Paris, 1853 – Paris, 1923) was the brilliant student of Alexandre Cabanel and William Bouguereau at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Art).
While working as a drawing teacher at the Saint-Cyr military academy, he depicted the Breton countryside and its inhabitants in his paintings and produced large canvases in the academic style idealising the reality of rural life.
These two portraits of the artist in his morning coat posing for a famous photographic studio, testify both to the social recognition achieved by Bellanger himself and to the social status of the artist in Republican society. There is no trace of artistic activity in these portraits, which portray the artist posing as a dignified bourgeois figure. They provide an insight into the process of photographic poses and studio portraiture which was so important in the late 19th century.
The Petit Palais collection contains an interesting group of “artists’ studios” in which famous painters and sculptors of the Second Empire and Republic pose in all their finery. These “studios” are stripped of all trace of actual work and show the artists in formal wear, striking professional poses. A whole vision of artistic creation and the dignity of the artist is conveyed by these photographs disseminating the faces of “famous men”, among which artists now feature.