Inventory

"AT THE OPERA"


Jean-François PORTAELS (Vilvoorde (Brussels) 1818 - Schaerbeek (Brussels) 1895)


Oil on canvas: 79.5 x 63.5 cm / 31.3 x 25 ins
Signed lower left

Provenance: Belgian School


Exhibitions: Antwerp - Brussels - Liège - Mons - Philadelphia - Prague - Stockholm - Stuttgart - Sydney


Literature: P. & V. Berko, "Dictionary of Belgian painters born between 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1981, p. 527.
P. & V. Berko, "19th Century European Virtuoso Painters", Knokke 2011, p. 512.
D. Depelchin & I. Rossi-Schrimpf, Antoinette De Laet, "Portaels en de roep van de Oriënt (1841-1847)", Cahiers of the Royal Museums of Fine Art of Belgium, Royal Museums of Fine Art of Belgium, Brussels 2015.
Royal Academy of Belgium, "Bulletin des Beaux-Arts", 1945.


Artist Biography: Painter of historical, biblical and religious subjects, genre scenes and portraits.

Jean-François Portaels was a pupil at the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under François Navez, founder of modern classicism. He perfected his technique in Paris in Paul Delaroche's studio. In 1842, he won the Prize of Rome and, from 1843 till 1847, he visited Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Judea, Spain, Hungary and Norway. Back in Belgium, he successfully exhibited in Ghent and was nominated director of the Ghent Academy. As a teacher, Portaels had a sober approach where experience was more important than theory.

He married the daughter of his first teacher, François Navez.

Painter of elegant ladies from the highest circles of society.
His paintings always showed the grace of women.

From 1858 to 1870 he directed a free workshop, where practice had more importance than theory, and was followed by many artists.


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