Advance Bid Deadline: December 09, 2023
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(updated Mon Nov 27 2:27:30 2023 E.S.T.)

Lot No. 227

Bidding Status: high bid , ,

Jean-Fran Ois Millet

French (1814-1875)
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    Les B Cheurs (The Diggers)

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

  • State: A fourth state (of four) impression, with the engraved address of the publisher Delatre,lower right faintly showing.
  • 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_IV.
  • 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-Fran ois 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.


    The Allinson Gallery, 'Jean-Francois Millet 1814-1875',

    Wikipedia, 'Jean-Francois Millet',

    Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art May 2018
US $
UK pound
Swiss Fr
2000-3000 2000,

* Estimates do not include 25% 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: 0.99 , British Pound 0.84, Swiss Fr 0.99. All conversion values are approximate with the final cost determined in dollars.
workcode: jm-2001f-102