Alexandru Bellu

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Life and work

Alexandru Bellu (1850-1921) came from a family of wealthy landowners who moved from Macedonia to Romania.

He studied Law in Paris, and entered into contact with the intellectuals and artists of the period. He met Nadar (in his studio at 35 Boulevard des Capucine), the Impressionists, camera manufacturers (such as Jules Richard), and the Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the two became friends for life. Bellu learnt photography from Nadar and the Alinari brothers from Florence.

Back in Romania, Bellu was to live another 30 years at his mansion of Urlaţi (Prahova County), photographing peasants, gypsies and rural life. His photographic work is often compared to the paintings of Nicolae Grigorescu.


Images of rural Romania that appeared in his 1919 album Romania in Pictures, were republished on various occasions by his son. Postcards using his photographs are rare and sought by collectors.

  • Petre Costinescu. Documente in alb-negru. Un fotograf de la sfirsitul veacului trecut. Alexandru Bellu, Editura Sport-Turism, Bucharest, 1987 (Romanian)