Camille Félix Bellanger (Paris, 1853 – Paris, 1923) was a well-known academic painter. These two portraits of the artist at work depict him not as a bourgeois painter, but as a modern artist: the vogue for open-air painting which became so popular in the late 19th century profoundly altered artistic practice.

Bellanger therefore appears very much as a painter of his times, working on an outdoor subject without going so far as to paint it from life (at least in this example).

There is a detail which draws the eye in one of the two photographs: in the bottom left-hand corner of his easel is what could be a working photograph on which the artist is basing his canvas. We can therefore see the tricks of the trade at first hand since artists had been using photography from its beginnings both for documentary purposes, as was apparent in the recent exhibition Delacroix and photography, as well as for more structural ends.

This picture is particularly relevant to the photographic collection at the Petit Palais, which is largely based around the concept of “art in the making”.

S. G. C.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.