So many precious historical artworks are only preserved through a few black-and-white photographs. However, an incredible work — thought to have been lost for decades and known only through photography — was recently discovered in Los Angeles. What’s the story?

It’s refreshing to know that wonderful masterpieces many believe to be gone forever sometimes reappear. That was precisely the case in Los Angeles at Gallery 19C. Just a few weeks ago, the gallery came across a legendary work by Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), titled “L’angelus,” which was previously known only from black-and-white photographs.

Alphonse Legros, “L’angelus,” 1859, oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. (c) Gallery 19C 2017
Alphonse Legros, “L’angelus,” 1859, oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. (c) Gallery 19C 2017

First unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1859, the painting quickly earned a reputation, particularly for its acceptance and praise by a number of commentators, including the discriminating art critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). Via ArtDaily: “Singled out for praise by numerous subsequent commentators, first in France and later in England, America, and Europe, and housed in some of the art world’s best-known and most discerning early twentieth-century private collections, the reappearance of L’angelus in 2016 is indisputably a monumental episode in the annals of modern art history. It now resides in an important private American collection. The new owner plans to share it via museum exhibitions with the public.”

To learn more, visit Gallery 19C.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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