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Eugène Vivier

(1817-1900), Horn player

Sitter in 1 portrait

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Eugène Vivier, by Edward Grimstone, published by  Cramer, Beale & Co - NPG D39261

Eugène Vivier

by Edward Grimstone, published by Cramer, Beale & Co
lithograph, 1850
NPG D39261


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Robert Rufli

14 August 2018, 08:42

Perhaps the following extract from the book "Grandes Horizontales - The Lives and Legend of Four Nineteenth-century Courtesans" by Virginia Rounding, ISBN 1-58234-450-7, Pages 184 ff.
In the description of the live in the Hôtel Paiva (the Hôtel of one of These courtesans) the following is mentioned:

This was still not the end of the story. A few days later, after midnight at the Friday dinner party, while the Hostess and her ten guests were partaking of tea and iced coffee, a servant suddenly announced portentously: 'His Majesty the Emperor!' Everyone stood to attention in amazed silence, as La Paiva stepped forward to great the illustrious Visitor. According to Houssay, 'Napoleon III stretched out his Hands like Jesus stilling the waves' and asked for the discussion to continue as before. Unsurprisingly, however, conversation now became stilted though the Emperor kept showering compliments on various of the guests, including Gautier and Delacroix. He then spent some time staring at the ceiling and twiddling About how annoying life was at the Tuileries, at which Point, says Houssay, 'we recognised Vivier, king of the Comedians, the spitting Image of Napoleon III'.
La Paiva was said never to have forgiven Vivier for this trick; incapable of laughing at her own expense, and desiring that no one should better her in ostentatious display, she hated being either deceived or upstaged. The Emperor, on the other Hand, was believed to have been amused when he heard about it and soon afterwards Vivier, who was also a famous horn player, was decorated. Whether it was the actor or the Emperor who made the first visit has never been clarified....

In fact the face of Eugène Vivier is very close to Napoleon III when comparing contemporary paintings.

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