A Christmas Tale


Un Conte de Noël (original French title)

Color etching and aquatint on wove paper, no date.

An artist’s proof. Edition unknown.

Cautiously a man leads a Flemish draft horse through the snow. The powder cannot be too deep, as both the man’s shoes and the horse’s hoofs hardly seem to break through the surface. Still, both exude an impression of prudence; or is it fatigue? After all, the title suggests it is Christmas. And who, on a cold Christmas day would want to be trekking through snow for work, however immaculate its surface. These two must not have had a choice. But at least the world is quiet and still, and a pale low sun shines its invigorating light and warmth onto both man and animal. They form one single shape, united visually as they are in their common journey. Alongside stretches what could be a body of water, a canal perhaps. This composition is quintessential Langaskens, who took joy in depicting the quiet dignity of labor.

Signed, titled, and annotated in pencil.

Overall in very fine condition with fresh subtle colors. A few pale specks in the bottom margin, as well as a faint smudge by the leftmost tree base.

13 3/4 x 18 inches