The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography



A carte-de-visite portrait of the prolific illustrator and artist known professionally as 'Bertall' (1820-1882).

‘Bertall’ was the pseudonym of the draughtsman, wood engraver, lithographer and illustrator Vicomte Albert d’Arnoux, Comte de Limoges-Saint-Saëns. He took the name – an approximate anagram of his forename – at the suggestion of Honoré de Balzac. He studied painting under Drolling but soon began working as an illustrator and caricaturist, probably at the suggestion of Balzac, later emerging as one of the most prolific graphic artists of the second half of the nineteenth century. He was chosen by the publishing house Barba to illustrate popular editions of the works of Fenimore Cooper, Paul de Kock, Alphonse Karr and others, and is reputed to have engraved some 3600 plates for Barba alone. He also contributed to many journals and drew a certain number of posters. From 1842 to 1855 he collaborated on illustrating the complete works of Balzac. From 1855 until the mid-1860’s he collaborated with the photographer Hippolyte Bayard in a photographic studio, the primary business of which was carte-de-visite portraiture. From 1869 to 1870 he edited the review Le Soir and in April 1871, during the Commune, he founded the satirical journal Le Grelot, which attacked the Communards. His reactionary views were further expressed in the illustrated Types de la Commune (Paris, 1871). In 1875 he received the Croix de la Légion d’Honneur.

Photographed by Disdéri of Paris.


Code: 124137
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