PROPERTY FROM THE PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS FRIENDS OF ART COLLECTION
Le Sidaner’s work parallels that of Monet in terms of style as well as choice of motif; both artists would reiterate the same subject matter in all seasons and during all times of day in order to isolate the variations of light. The Impressionist technique of using short, fragmented brushstrokes and intensified colors was particularly suited to Le Sidaner’s desire to capture the nuances of natural light.
Although Le Sidaner was still living in France at the beginning of the twentieth century, his reputation had spread well beyond the country’s borders. In 1901 he received an award from the Carnegie Institute’s International Art Exhibition in Pittsburgh, initiating what would develop into an indelible affiliation with the city that would span the next three decades. In 1910, 1912 and 1931 the Carnegie Institute invited the artist to sit on their jury, which invited two European artists each year. Le Sidaner’s relationship with the Carnegie Institute grew stronger over time: in 1911 the exhibition devoted an entire room to his work and by the 1920s the exhibitions had evolved into shows devoted completely to Le Sidaner. After decades of mutual admiration, the city of Pittsburgh and Le Sidaner had established an indelible connection.
Le soleil dans les vitres is a rich depiction of an interior view of Le Sidaner’s home in Versailles. The artist’s careful attention to color, light and shadow build from the panes of glass in the French doors in the center of the composition to the far room, bathed in light from the window at left.
In 1903 Le Sidaner and his family had moved to Versailles where they spent the winters, returning to the town of Gerberoy only in the summers. Versailles soon became the artist’s favorite place of residence, providing him with numerous compositional subjects. In his later years, Le Sidaner would focus heavily on depictions of Versailles that “include intimate views into and out of his own living quarters, in which draftsmanship and composition increasingly give way to painterly effects and to broader and rougher brushwork” (Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner: l’Oeuvre peint et gravé, Paris, 1989, p. 178).
A favored theme for the artist, the view through a window or door exhibits Le Sidaner’s particular skill in capturing light; the artist communicates a palpable distinction between the cool shadows of the foreground and the warm sunlight of the adjacent room. His son recalls: “[Le Sidaner] frequently represented interiors, in which the sunlight was softened by gently rippling curtains. When my father caught one of these ‘special effects,’ he nodded in my direction and stood there, glazing towards the horizon, impressing on his mind the scene he had just witnessed” (ibid., p. 10).
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