(b. 1848, Paris, d. 1894, Gennevilliers)

Portrait of Henri Cordier

Oil on canvas, 65 x 82 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Henri Cordier (1849-1925) was a French linguist, historian, ethnographer, author, editor and Orientalist. He was President of the Société de Géographie in Paris. He worked in China from 1869 to 1880, when he returned to France and became a lecturer on the geography and history of the Far East at the School of Oriental Languages in Paris.

Caillebotte and Cordier were certainly friends. In the present portrait, Caillebotte chooses to focus on Cordier's intellectual side. He is represented deep in concentration, surrounded by books, busy writing in an ill-defined position.