Featured Artist in Collection

Jean-François Portaels (1818-1895)

Portrait of a Lady

Jean-François Portaels was born in the town of Vilvoorde in 1818 and as a boy of seventeen enrolled at the Academy of Brussels. There he was fortunate enough to be tutored by Belgium’s greatest portrait painter, Francois-Joseph Navez. From 1847-1849 he was Director of Painting at the Academy of Ghent, but by the winter of 1849 he had returned back to Brussels. By then he had made the decision to spend much of his life in academia and, over the next forty years, held almost all of the major artistic posts in Belgium, including Director-General of the Academy of Brussels and President of the Royal Academy of Belgium. He died in the small town of St. Josse-ten-Noode in 1895 but was given a State Burial in Brussels. He is best known for his Orientalist art, art featuring scenes and costumes from the Middle-East and Asia.