Jean-François Portaels

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Biography of Jean-François Portaels ( 1818-1895 )

Born to Vilvorde, his father sent him to study to the Academy of Arts of Brussels and his director, François Navez the founder of the classic modern school, received him as a pupil in his own studio. By 1841, Portaels left for Paris, where he was kindly received by Paul Delaroche. He received Grand Prix of Rome in 1842. Between 1843 and 1847, he travelled through Italy, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Judea, Spain, Hungary and Norway. He returned to Belgium in 1847. The success of his exhibition in Ghent on the occasion of his return, allowed him to succeed to Vanderhaert as director of the Academy of Arts of this city. He got married in 1849 to the daughter of his first master, Navez and they became established in Brussels.

From 1858 till 1870, he manages a private studio, with liberal teaching which inciting to the individualism ; he knew a big success. He travels and works in Morocco from 1870 till 1874.
In 1878, he manages the Royal Academy of Arts of Brussels. He will have an important influence on the following generations of Belgian painters, among whom Alfred Bastien, Théo Van Rysselberghe and Edouard Agneessens, the sculptor Charles Van der Stappen, and the architect Charles Licot.

He can be recognized as the founder of the Belgian Orientalist school.

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