Collection Online

Louis Buvelot

carbon photograph
13.6 × 9.0 cm (image) 16.9 × 12.1 cm (support)
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
Australian Photography
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gwynneth White Adamson Bequest, 1997
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
This is a formal and dignified portrait of the painter Louis Buvelot taken towards the end of the artist's life. The unknown photographer has posed Buvelot slightly in profile to accentuate the sitter's strong profile and at an angle that lends the work a bust-like quality. Indeed, it appears highly likely that this photograph served as the model for a marble bust of the artist made by Bertram Mackennal around 1888 and which is now in the Gallery's collection. The striking resemblance of the sculpture to this photograph lends some weight to the suggestion that Mackennal carved his work after the artist's death, relying of the documentary evidence of this image for accurate evidence of the artist's features. Despite its size there is a gravity to this portrait in keeping with the notion of the photographic portrait as a formal commeration of a person's features. It is worth noting that Buvelot was well aware of photographic conventions, as he had practiced photography throughout his life and no doubt participated to some extent in the process of having his portrait made.