Gustave Doré was a painter primarily known for his illustrations of books, including a version of the Bible. He was a good friend of Nadar, who photographed Doré many times, even on his deathbed.
Doré appears here in the flush of newly earned celebrity, a jaunty young man in checked trousers and a scarf. His sweep of hair cascades across his head as if blown by the wind; his overcoat gapes open to reveal a leg poised to carry him forward, as though he has places to go and can only sit still for a moment. Although the chair in which he sits is clearly visible, he appears to hover unanchored above it. Nadar has captured the spontaneity and energy of a young artist on the rise.