At a studio tea given by Jean Duval in honor of his bride, Marie, one of his fellow artists, Andrew Lenique, presents her with an oddly-carved dagger, which she had previously admired. Lenique has painted a beautiful panel in competition for the 50,000 franc prize at the National Gallery. Duval has not entered any of his work, not being able to find a satisfactory model, and it is generally believed Lenique will win. Some weeks later, Manon, a beautiful street-singer, driven by hunger and cruelty, escapes from her brutal father and seeks refuge in the studio building, where she is found and befriended by Duval and Lenique. In her Duval finds his long-sought model and becomes so absorbed in his prize picture he neglects Marie. Manon and Lenique fall in love. When Duval's picture is completed, Lenique jealously realizes it is a greater work than his own and determines to destroy the painting. Marie happens to see Manon faint from weariness in Duval's arms, and misconstrues the situation...
Moving Picture World synopsis