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Jean-Achille Bellanger

(active in Paris between 1745 and 1770)

The Tribute Money. Etching. 4.5 x 15 cm. 1745. Le Blanc 6, Inventaire du Fonds Français 5.

Very little is known to date about the life and artistic career of Jean-Achille Bellanger. He was deputy to the royal administrator at the Paris Châtelet and entries in artists’ encyclopaedias describe him as a draughtsman and amateur etcher. Writing for the Inventaire du Fonds Français, Marcel Roux lauds him as “un amateur, mais un artiste (il est même plus artiste que bien des professionnels, qui ne sont souvent que des ouvriers d’art plus ou moins habiles)”. The author records a total of twenty-one small etchings by Bellanger, “gravées avec beaucoup d’intelli­gence et de goût”. His works are of the utmost rarity; a complete set of his etchings is only available in the Département des Estampes of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Bellanger concerned himself primarily with religious themes from the New Testament, creating inter alia a series of prints devoted to the Seven Sacraments. The present print depicting Christ with the tribute money surrounded by a group of Pharisees is not only remarkable for its great rarity, but also for the unusual format and the technical sophistication with which the artist has composed the little scene. The small plate is not trimmed in the empty upper and right margins and the needle scratches visible there indicate that this is a trial proof of the first state.

A very fine impression with margins around the distinct plate­mark. Slight condition problems, otherwise in excellent condition. From the collection of François Heugel, Paris (Lugt 3373).

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