DANIEL DUPUIS (Blois 1849 - 1899 Paris)
Eugène Guillaume (Montbard 1822-1905 Rome)
Diameter: 6¼ inches (160 mm)
Signed, at left: Daniel Dupuis
Monogram, at right
Inscribed and dated: Clavde · Jean · Baptiste · Evgene · Gvillaume 1881
Daniel Dupuis achieved success early in his life, having been admitted to the École des Beaux Arts at the age of sixteen. Unfortunately, his career was tragically cut short in 1899 at the hand of his wife. She had had been psychologically unstable for some time; she shot Dupuis and subsequently shot herself.
Dupuis was awarded the second Prix de Rome in medallic art three years after being admitted to the École des Beaux Arts; at the same time, he was named drawing master at the Municipal Schools of Paris. By 1872, the artist was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome. During his Rome stay, Dupuis made cast medals of his fellow pensionnaires, using the casting process known as cire perdue (lost wax) – a technique that dates to the Italian Renaissance. During the years 1877 through to his death, Dupuis exhibited sculpture, medallions and medals at the salons of Paris, as well as in exhibitions in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. Named a Knight of the Legion of Honor and Academy officer in 1898, Dupuis was awarded the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1898, just one year before his untimely death.
Guillaume, a student of James Pradier, won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1845 and was named Director of the École des Beaux Arts in 1864. Named an honorary member of the Royal Academy in 1869, Guillaume became the director of the French Academy in Rome in 1891 and a member of the Académie française in 1898. Guillaume’s memorable works include a statue of Colbert located in Reims, a monument to the French composer Rameau situated in Dijon and Les grecs, on permanent view at the musée d’Orsay, Paris. The sculptor also received many official commissions including the Opéra Garnier and the Bourse, among others.
Dupuis’ medallion of Eugène Guillaume, 1881, represents the sculptor, teacher and author of works on Italian Renaissance architecture in profile, surrounded by a calligraphic inscription. Rather than encircling the entire portrait with writing, Dupuis extends Guillaume’s hair to cut into the inscription above and continues his portrait bust of the great sculptor to include his jacket, which extends to the bottom of the relief. This quirky bit of artistic license adds interest to the medallion moving it into the realm of sculpture.