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Jean-François Millet. 1814-1875.

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Les Bêcheurs (The Diggers). 1855-56. Etching. Delteil, Melot 13.iii/iv. 9 1/4 x 14 (sheet 12 3/8 x 15 7/8). State with the name and address of the printer, "Paris Imp Aug Delâtre R St Jacque 171" lower right. Illustrated: Leipnik, A History of French Etching; Salaman, The Great Painter-Etchers from Rembrandt to Whistler. A fine impression with plate tone printed in black/brown ink on cream-colored laid paper with full full margins. Unsigned. $4,500.

Millet's etching was made at approximately the same time as his painting of the subject. Vincent van Gogh's made a drawing and a painting after Les Bêcheurs.

C. H. Collins (Charles Henry Collins), writes: "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 spac- ing 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 bet- ter 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 sym- bolic 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."

Jean-François Millet. PAINTER OF LABOUR. XII SCENES WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY C. H. COLLINS BAKER. PUBLISHED AT THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BY HUMPHREY MILFORD TORONTO MEL- BOURNE & BOMBAY.
> First printed as Memorabilia, Number cxiii, in the eleven point Riccardi Fount, March MDCCCCXVI.

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