Photographer of luminaries

Forty of Felix Nadar's best photo-portraits are shown in the National Art Gallery - The Palace in Sofia

Felix Nadar

The 5th edition of the Fotofabrika festival will be closed with the exhibition of Felix Nadar, world-known French photographer of the turn of the century period. The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the French Institute in Bulgaria and the National Art Gallery - The Palace in Sofia and staged by Jeu de Paume museum, Mediathek for Architecture and Cultural Heritage, and France's Ministry of Culture.

The 5th edition of the Fotofabrika festival will be closed with the exhibition of Felix Nadar, world-known French photographer of the turn of the century period. The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the French Institute in Bulgaria and the National Art Gallery - The Palace in Sofia and staged by Jeu de Paume museum, Mediathek for Architecture and Cultural Heritage, and France's Ministry of Culture.
Forty of the best photo-portraits by Felix Nadar will be shown to the Bulgarian audience. Among them are portraits of Sarah Bernard, Alexander Dumas, Claude Debussy, Charles Baudelaire, George Sand, Jacques Offenbach, Emile Zola, Jules Verne and scores of other luminaries of the turn of the century period (end of 19th - beginning of the 20th century).  
Gaspard-Felix Tournachon, known by the pseudonym Nadar, was born 1820 in Paris. He worked as photographer, caricaturist, journalist and writer. Famous for his nonconformist and bold spirit, Nadar was a proponent of social ideals. He challenged the public opinion, defending and developing his own artistic concepts and tastes to the end.
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 (6,000 cubic metres) balloon named Le Geant (The Giant), thereby inspiring Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon. Although the Geant project was initially unsuccessful, Nadar was still convinced that the future belonged to heavier-than-air machines. Later, The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines was established, with Nadar as president and Verne as secretary. Nadar was also the inspiration for the character of Michael Ardan in Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible.
Nadar loved to photograph people whom he knew well. His archive contains photos of almost all popular writers, poets, painters, actors, musicians and dancers of that time. That is why he is also known as “photographer of stars”. Nadar was a true pioneer and artist, and his great photo-portraits nowadays comprise a Pantheon of his epoch.
The Bulgarian public will have a chance to visit the exhibition of famous portraits by Nadar till 26 August.

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