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Émile Friant was born in 1863 to a family of a locksmith in Dieuze, France. Talented and skilful, Émile started exhibiting his works of art early in his life, debuting at the age of 15 at the Nanceienne Salon des Amis des Arts exhibition. The following year, he went to Paris to study art in the atelier under the academic painter Alexandre Cabanel. Nevertheless, he soon returned to Nancy a northeastern French city to continue working and exhibiting there. This place was known in the later years of the 19th century as an art center second to Paris.
Émile Friant became in demand as a portrait painter. In 1881, Émile Friant once again went to Paris to work and study at the Cabanel's studio. He continued fulfilling his portrait commissions at the same time.
In 1885, Émile Friant got a cholarship and travelled to the Netherlands, Italy, Malta, and Tunisia. Works of the great Dutch Masters left a big impression on Émile. His list of clients grew and works of art were sold to patrons on both sides of the pond.
He continued to exhibit his artwork at the international exhibitions, including the Paris Salon. In 1906, Émile Friant became a professor of drawing at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In 193, Friant was awarded the rank of Commander of the Legion d'Honneur.
From The Eclectic Light Company:
"He's been called the Last Naturalist, and like many of the Naturalists whom I have featured here, was both popular in his day and almost forgotten now. Émile Friant (1863–1932) rebelled against the academic style of the 1880s, and is one of the major artists discussed by Richard Thomson in his account of French painting between 1880-1900"
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