Emile Antoine Bayard (1837-1891)
[Emile Bayard, Emile-Antoine Bayard, Emile-Bayard, E. Bayard]
In the Salon of 1884 appeared a painting by a well-known and popular artist entitled "An Affair of Honor."
It represented a duel with rapiers between two women. The scene was laid in a well-known spot in the bois de Boulogne
where there have been countless encounters of this character. The combatants, their seconds and friends,
were all women of the class which inhabits that half-world for which Alexandre Dumas the younger
invented the name. Each personage was a striking portrait of some prosperous courtesan, and the women,
stripped naked to the waist, were both living adventurers of notorious recklessness. The popularity of the picture
was enormous. It travelled all over the world, and was so great that the artist followed it
with a composition and sequel - "The Reconciliation." Here one of the cocottes has fallen wounded, and
her late antagonist forgets her anger and kneels sympathizingly beside her, while
one of the seconds calls up the coach, which at a distance has awaited the outcome of the fight.
The painter of this picture, Emile Bayard, was born at Ferte-sous-Jouarre, in the Department of Seine-et-Marne, in 1837.
In 1853 he entered the studio of Cogniet. He was poor, and supported himself by designing
illustrations for books and newspapers. His first exhibits at the Salon were of drawings. He served as
aa volunteer during the Franco-Prussian war, and in 1870 exhibited a superb drawing representing the battle of Sedan.
This drawing made his reputation. It was purchased by the State, and won for him the decoration of the
Legion of Honor.
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