The commission was originally awarded to Joseph Geefs, who completed L'ange du mal in 1842 and installed it the following year. It generated controversy at once and was criticized for not representing a Christian ideal. The cathedral administration declared that "this devil is too sublime." The local press intimated that the work was distracting the "pretty penitent girls" who should have been listening to the sermons. Bishop van Bommel soon ordered the removal of L'ange du mal, and the building committee passed the commission for the pulpit sculpture to Guillaume Geefs, whose version was installed at the cathedral permanently in 1848.Although Joseph Geefs lost that prime spot in the cathedral to his older brother, he made up for it by exhibiting his sublimely wicked angel at salons across Europe, where it divided critics but earned him several orders for copies.