(3 April 1818 - 8 February 1895) was a Belgian orientalist painter and director of the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Portaels was born in Vilvoorde. His father, a rich brewer, sent him to study at the Royal Academy, whose director, François Navez, took him on soon after in his own workshop. About 1841 Portaels went to Paris, where he was well received by Paul Delaroche.
The Rose VendorAfter his return to Belgium, he won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1842. He then travelled through Italy, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, the Lebanon, Judaea, Spain, Hungary and Norway. On his return to Belgium in 1847 Portaels succeeded H. Vanderhaert as Director of the Academy in Ghent. In 1849 he married the daughter of his first teacher, Navez, and in 1850 he settled in Brussels; but when he did not get the post of director of the Brussels academy, and wished, nevertheless, to carry on teaching as his father-in-law had done, he opened a private studio-school, which became one of great significance in the development of Belgian art. Once more he went on his travels, spending time in Morocco; he returned to Brussels in 1874, and in 1878 became Director of the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts which had so long been the object of his ambition. He died in Schaerbeek.