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Estimate: $ 1,200 - $ 1,800
JEAN-FRANÇOIS MILLET (after) L'Angélus.
Etching, 1881. 450x530 mm; 17 3/4x20 3/4 inches, full margins. Signed by Charles-Albert Waltner in crayon, lower right. A very good impression.
Waltner (1846-1925), a Parisian painter-printmaker, based this etching on Millet's same-titled oil, 1857-59, which was first publically exhibited at Brussels in 1874, the year before Millet's death. The image shows the evening prayer of two peasants during the potato harvest in Barbizon, France, with a distant view of the church tower of Chailly-en-Bière. At their feet is a small basket of potatoes and around them are a cart and a pitchfork.
The painting expresses a profound religious devotion, and became one of the most widely reproduced religious images of the 19th century, though Millet painted it from a sense of nostalgia rather than from any strong religious feeling. The work triggered a rush of patriotic fervour when the Louvre tried to buy it in 1889 during a bidding war with collectors in the United States, and was later vandalized in 1932; it is now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.