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Advance Bid Deadline: December 28, 2021
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(updated Thu Dec 30 13:55:29 2021 E.S.T.)

Lot No. 208

Bidding Status:

Jean-FrançOis Millet

French (1814-1875)
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    Les BêCheurs (The Diggers)

    etching in black ink on thin chine paper, ca, 1855, , ,

  • State: A third state (of four) impression, before the engraved address of the publisher Delatre, described by Delteil as "Rare".
  • Condition: In very good condition, the impression strong and rich, the full sheet apparently, with delicate hinging at the top and mild toning in the margins well away from the image.
  • Plate: 9 5/16 x 13 1/4 in. (23.7 x 33.7 cm)
  • References: Recorded and illustrated in the standard catalog of the authentic original engravings of Millet, by Delteil, No. 13.
  • Framing: Sold unframed
  • Note: Rarely seen on chine paper.

    Jean-Francois Millet (1814-75) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers; he can be categorised, along with his near contemporary, Gustave Courbet, as a principal exponent of the Realism art movement.

    In his classic monograph on the artist, Jean-François Millet. Painter of Labour (1916), Charles Henry Collins wrote of this work:

    'One of Millet's finest designs, this etching has a largeness of style and decorative purpose that would fit it to be enlarged to life-size. The spacing of the limbs, the emphasis given to rhythmic action and thrust-resisting lines are the outcome of profound science as well as of an instinct for great essentials. It seems improbable that the motif of this etching - the stubborn strength, the rude power of field labourers - will ever be better expressed pictorially. The character and life of these men is given us in this statement of, apparently, but a moment in their day. Their action and environment are made to carry a symbolic meaning; they typify a race of peasants. Thus Millet's work is monumental, giving once for all a general and enduring expression of peasant life and labour.'

    Millet's etching was made at almost the same time as his painting of the subject (Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth) and dates from a decade of remarkable productivity of emotionally resonant masterworks, including The Sower (1850), The Gleaners (1857) and The Angelus (1857-59). Vincent van Gogh, whose admiration of Millet as a 'conviction artist' of the rural poor was second to none, made a drawing and a painting after The diggers some thirty years later.

    See:

    The Allinson Gallery, 'Jean-Francois Millet 1814-1875', http://www.allinsongallery.com/millet/becheurs.html

    Wikipedia, 'Jean-Francois Millet', https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-FranC3%A7ois_Millet

    Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art May 2018
Estimates*
US $
Euro
UK pound
Swiss Fr
100-100000
85-85000
73-73000
92-92000

* Estimates do not include 28% buyer's premium (see Terms and Conditions). NR means no reserve (minimum bid $50 unless otherwise posted). Estimates in other currencies based on conversion rates of Euro: 0.85 , British Pound 0.73, Swiss Fr 0.92. All conversion values are approximate with the final cost determined in dollars.
workcode: jm-2001f-102