Lot 171
  • 171

Henri le Sidaner

800,000 - 1,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henri Le Sidaner
  • La table aux dahlias
  • Signed Le Sidaner (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 25 3/4 by 32 in.
  • 65.4 by 81.3 cm


Knoedler & Co., Paris
Ms. Frances Logan
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (gifted from the above and sold by order of the University Trustees of the William Rockhill Trust, Kansas City: Sotheby's, New York, November 13, 1997, lot 274)
Richard Green Fine Paintings, London


Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, L'Oeuvre peint et gravé, Paris, 1989, no. 402, illustrated p. 161

Catalogue Note

Epitomizing the artist's skillful play with light and color, La table aux dahlias creates an atmosphere of meditative contemplation. The viewer's gaze lingers on the table and the carefully placed objects, absorbing the color and the mood. The absence of figures allows one's imagination to awaken and to be fully present. Le Sidaner was fully aware that he wouldn't have time to depict the plays of light and their changing reflections as they materialized, so he instead focused on fully experiencing the moment in order to re-create it more perfectly once it had passed. He would memorize a scene and later reproduce it in the studio. As the artist's son, Rémy Le Sidaner, recalls, "When my father caught one of these 'special effects', he nodded in my direction and stood there, gazing out towards the horizon, impressing on his mind the scene he had just witnessed" (Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op.cit., p.10).

In April 1901 the artist moved to Gerberoy, "seized with a burning ambition. He longed to plan a garden of his own, in which the landscape would be designed by him personally and in which he could achieve his favorite light effects" (ibid, p.14). Henri Le Sidaner fulfilled his dream of creating an ideal setting in which he could capture these perfect moments. He painted under different lights, each time of day representing a different facet of a lost Art de Vivre. In 1935, four years before his death, the artist delivered a speech to celebrate the three decades he had spent in the village. "And when it is my time to go, I am sure I shall be seized with a vision of my modest cottage in Gerberoy, where trembling fingers will adorn the shutters with a single branch of greenery, enhanced by heavy roses, bringing us that elusive grace which characterizes the blossoming of nature" (ibid, p.19).

Le Sidaner was not alone in his sensitivity to quiet and poetic beauty.  As Paul Signac noted, "His entire work is influenced by a taste for tender, soft and silent atmospheres. Gradually, he even went so far as to eliminate from his paintings all human figures, as if he feared that the slightest human presence might disturb their muffled silence" (Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op.cit., p.31).  Although the figures are absent from La table aux dahlias, the artist's temperament is present in the rich tonalities and the muted musicality of the composition.