The National Gallery – The Palace in Sofia is to exhibit 40 of French photographer Félix Nadar’s best portrait photographs from June 21 to August 26 2018.
The exhibition has been organised by the French Institute Sofia and the National Gallery – The Palace and is part of the Fotofabrika Festival, which began in March and continues until August.
Those depicted in the portrait photographs include Sarah Bernard, Alexander Dumas, Claude Debussy, Charles Baudelaire, Georges Sand, Jacques Offenbach, Emil Zola and Jules Verne.
“A brilliant man, a revolutionary, a brave social idealist, Nadar was the first photographer to take a stand against public opinion, to seek the ultimate development of his ideas (aerophotography) and his tastes (portraiture as a genre in itself). His best pictures are those of people he knew well. His models are isolated, with hardly any background. He never made corrections in his photos,” Fotofabrika said.
“His great portraits form a Pantheon of his times, and at the time of their first public exhibition in 1859 the critics wrote: ‘A photographer always has the right to be a painter’.
Félix Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (April 1 1820, Paris – March 20 1910), a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist.
He took his first photographs in 1853 and pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris. Around 1863, Nadar built a huge (6000 cubic metre) balloon named Le Géant (“The Giant”), thereby inspiring Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon.
(Photo of Sarah Bernhardt: (c) Donation Félix Nadar. Cropped from original)