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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist and Modern Art, Evening Sale

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London

Alfred Sisley
1839 - 1899
LE LOING À MORET, EN ÉTÉ
signed Sisley and dated 91 (lower left)
oil on canvas
73.5 by 93cm.
28 7/8 by 36 5/8 in.
Painted in 1891.
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To be included in the new edition of Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre d'Alfred Sisley by François Daulte being prepared by the Comité Alfred Sisley.

Provenance

François Depeaux, Rouen (sale: Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, Vente Depeaux, 31st May - 1st June 1906, lot 49)
Comte Isaac de Camondo, Paris (purchased at the above sale)
Bernheim-Jeune, Paris
Joseph Hessel, Paris (acquired by 1922)
Catalina Pietri de Boulton, Caracas (probably acquired between 1922 and 1930)
John Boulton, Caracas
Sale: Christie's, London, Boulton Collection, 3rd December 1965, lot 35
Hervé Audremotte, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owners in 1966

Exhibited

Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, A. Sisley, 1897, no. 61
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition de tableaux par Sisley, 1922, no. 35
Caracas, Fondacion Eugène Mendoza, Cien Anos de Pintura Moderna 1840-1940, 1957, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Acquavella Galleries, Inc., Four Masters of Impressionism, 1968, no. 49, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

François Daulte, Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1959, no. 763, illustrated
Gaston Diehl, El Arte Moderno Frances en Caracas, Caracas, 1959, no. 6
David Bjelajac, Private Visions, The Paul and Mary Haas Collection of Art, New York, 1987, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Le Loing à Moret, en été is one of Sisley's richest and most accomplished riverscapes as well as a rare painting executed on such an impressive scale. Painted near the town of Moret, it combines the artist's favourite subjects: the beautiful nature of the river bank and the town's architecture. In the last decade of his life, Moret provided a perfect setting for the artist, who cherished its beauty and quietness, and found in it an important source of inspiration. He took particular delight in the town's Gothic church of Notre-Dame, a subject of a series of paintings, visible in the present composition rising above the houses of the village.

 

Sisley was also fascinated by the river Loing, with its multi-arched bridge lined with mills which he painted from a multitude of viewpoints. For the present work, he set up his easel downstream from Moret, near the boatyard of Matrat, a subject of an earlier painting. Juxtaposing brushstrokes of bright yellow, green and purple tones, he captures the shifting effect of sunlight and shadows. Always preoccupied with the impressionist fashion of recording the changing play of light on the water, in the present work Sisley depicted this scene on a bright summer day, the intense blue sky with light scattered clouds and façades reflected on the surface of the river.

 

Richard Shone discussed the appeal of this picturesque town: 'The fame of Moret rested not so much on what was found inside the town but on the view it presented from across the Loing. Old flour and tanning mills clustered along the bridge; the river, scattered with tiny islands, seemed more like a moat protecting the houses and terraced gardens that, on either side the sturdy Porte de Bourgogne, in turn defended the pinnacled tower of the church. Add to this the tree-lined walks along the river, the continuous sound of water from the weir and the great wheels of the mills, the houseboats and fishermen, and there was, as every guidebook exclaimed, 'a captivating picture', a sight 'worthy of the brush'. These supremely picturesque aspects of Moret left Sisley unabashed. Gathered in one spot were the motifs that had mesmerized him since he began to paint. Here were water, sky, reflections, a busy riverside; the multi-arched bridge was for the artist the last in a long line of such structures going back through Sèvres and St-Cloud and Hampton Court to Argenteuil and Villeneuve-la-Garenne. Here was that conjunction of man-made and natural, the interleaving of foliage and house fronts between sky and water' (R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 159).

 

The beautifully painted sky in the present work embodies the importance that the artist attached to this part of the landscape, as explained in a letter to his friend, the art critic Adolphe Tavernier: 'The sky is not simply a background; its planes give depth (for the sky has planes, as well as solid ground), and the shapes of clouds give movement to a picture. What is more beautiful indeed than the summer sky, with its wispy clouds idly floating across the blue? What movement and grace! Don't you agree? They are like waves on the sea; one is uplifted and carried away' (quoted in Sisley (exhibition catalogue), Wildenstein & Co., New York, 1966, n.p.).

 

The first owner of the present work was the Rouen industrialist and collector François Depeaux (1853-1920). The auction of his collection, held in Paris in 1906, contained 46 works by Sisley, including the present painting, as well as several important works by Monet. Le Loing à Moret, en été was purchased in this sale by Comte Isaac de Camondo (1851-1911), another collector with a particular passion for Sisley's and Monet's art. During the last period of Sisley's life, he was very close to Monet. The treatment of the water surface in the present work certainly bears similarities with Monet's depictions of the lily pond at Giverny, and shows Sisley at the height of his Impressionist style.   

Impressionist and Modern Art, Evening Sale

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London