01 work, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Felix Bonfils’ TURKISH LADY, with Footnotes. #104

Felix Bonfils, (1831 – 1885) (ATTRIBUTED), (french, 1831–1885)

Albumen print.
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (24.8 x 18.4cm).
Private collection

Félix Adrien Bonfils (8 March 1831 – 1885) was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East. He was one of the first commercial photographers to produce images of the Middle East on a large scale and amongst the first to employ a new method of colour photography, developed in 1880.

He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder but in 1860 he joined General d’Hautpoul’s expedition to the Levant. Soon after returning from Lebanon he became a photographer.

In 1857, when his son fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Félix’s wife. The family moved to Beirut in 1867 where they opened a photographic studio called “Maison Bonfils”.

Maison Bonfils produced thousands of photographs of the Middle East. He worked with both his wife and his son. Their studio became “F. Bonfils et Cie” in 1878. They photographed posed scenes, dressed up in Middle Eastern regalia, and also stories from the Bible. Bonfils took photographs in Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Constantinople (now Istanbul). While Bonfils produced the vast majority of his work, it is known that his wife, Lydie also made some of the studio portraits, especially those of Middle Eastern women, who were more inclined to pose for a female photographer.

Bonfils was amongst the first photographers to employ the new technique of Photochrom, a photographic colour printing technique, developed in 1880.  Maison Bonfils was one of the most prolific studios in the Middle East in the late 19th-century. More on Félix Adrien Bonfils

Please visit my other blogs: Art CollectorMythologyMarine ArtPortrait of a Lady, The OrientalistArt of the Nude and The Canals of VeniceMiddle East Artists365 Saints and 365 Days, also visit my Boards on Pinterest

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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