Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio

Portrait of Morel-Fatio. Oil on canvas by Emmanuel Barcet, after François-Gabriel Lépaulle. On display at the Musée national de la Marine, Paris.
Born Antoine Léon Morel
17 January 1810
Died 2 March 1871
Nationality French
Known for Naval painting
Algiers attack by Wed, July 3, 1830, oil on canvas

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (born 1810 in Rouen − d. 1871 in Paris) was a French naval painter, peintre officiel de la Marine, curator of the naval and ethnographic museum of the Louvre, and mayor of the 20th arrondissement of Paris.


Morel-Fatio was born to the Morel family, of small nobility. He attended Lycée Louis-le-Grand before being expelled in 1824 for making practical jokes, and finished his studies at the collège Bourbon.

In 1827, he joined the British commerce Navy to learn navigation, before joining the family bank, and later the bank of Jean-Charles Davillier.

Morel-Fatio traveled in Italy and Orient, learning painting. In 1830, he was with the French fleet during the Expédition d'Alger. He produced a corpus of drawings and paintings that earned him some success at the Salon in 1833. In 1836, Louis-Philippe ordered a painting illustrating the capture of Alger for the historical museum in Versaille.

In 1838, Morel-Fatio was selected by Horace Vernet to paint the Battle of San Juan de Ulúa. The next year, Morel-Fatio sailed with the fleet under Admiral Lalande. In 1840, he painted the returns of the ashes a Napoléon to France.

Morel-Fatio was made assistant curator of the naval collections of the Louvre (which at the time harboured the Musée national de la Marine), and rose to curator in 1852. In 1850, he created an ethnographical annex to the museum, and a Chinese museum.

Morel-Fatio was made a Peintre de la Marine in 1853.

From 1860 to 1869, he was mayor of the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

Morel-Fatio died of a heart attack on 2 March 1871, allegedly when seeing Prussian soldiers storm the museum.


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