Henri Le Sidaner: Artist Portrait

Henri Le Sidaner

Born 1862. Died 1939.
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Henri Le Sidaner Biography

The crepuscular gardens and quiet street corners of Henri Le Sidaner’s paintings and pastels conjure a romantic, mysterious world of intimate sentimentality. Throughout his distinguished career, Le Sidaner remained chiefly concerned with capturing atmospheric light, using dappled brushstrokes to evoke the diffuse luminosity of twilight. Often categorized as an Intimist, Le Sidaner’s highly personal oeuvre also displays Symbolist tendencies, along with the unmistakable influence of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

Le Sidaner was born in 1862 in Port Louis, Mauritius, and in 1872 his family settled in Dunkirk, France. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Alexandre Cabanel, but found himself disenchanted with the academic milieu. Seeking fresh perspective, Le Sidaner relocated to the Étaples artist colony in 1885, where he discovered Impressionism. Inspired by the en plein air landscapes of Claude Monet, Le Sidaner spent the next nine years studying the coastal landscapes and towns of the Côte d’Opale. During this period, he began exhibiting at the Salon des Artistes Française, and later at the Société National des Beaux-Arts. In 1896, Le Sidaner evolved toward Symbolist themes; many of his paintings from this period feature mysterious, white-clad women gathered in dimly lit gardens. By the turn of the century, however, Le Sidaner had largely eschewed the human figure. His mature work focused instead on the private, provincial landscapes of Beauvais, Chartes and his own home in Gerberoy.

In 1930, Le Sidaner was honored with a Professorship at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, and in 1937 he was named its President. He died in 1939 in Versailles, France, at the age of 76. Today, his work resides in numerous public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Tate Gallery, London.

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