- Alfred Sisley
- Le Marronnier à Saint-Mammès
- Signed Sisley. and dated 80 (lower left)
- Oil on canvas
- 19 1/2 by 26 1/8 in.
- 49.5 by 66.3 cm
Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York (acquired from the artist on September 15, 1880)
Robert Eisner, New York (acquired from the above on March 5, 1942)
Gabrielle Eisner Zomber, Pennsylvania (by descent from the above and sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 11, 1977, lot 13)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Alfred Sisley, 1939, no. 2
New York, Flushing Meadows, The New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 326
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, 140 Anniversary of Durand-Ruel Galleries, 1943, no. 23
New York, Wildenstein Gallery, Sisley, 1966, no. 42
"The New York World's Fair", New York, 1940, p. 226
François Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1959, no. 371, illustrated
During the 1880s, Sisley often visited the port of Saint-Mammès, at the confluence of the rivers Seine and Loing, and Le Marronnier à Saint-Mammès is a beautiful depiction of this region. Sisley painted the area on a bright day, as the townsfold go about their daily routines. The pile of timber alongside the bank of the river and the flock of chickens in the center of the composition are elements that enhance the realism of the picture. This is not an idealized scene, but a true vignette of contemporary life in Saint-Mammès. We can even see someone swatting their broom from an upper storey window of one of the houses on the left, suggesting that domestic duties are not being neglected. The absence of shadows and the warm tones with which Sisley depicted the vegetation suggest that this work was painted around noon, as the whole scene is bathed in bright sunshine.
Two years after completing this work, Sisley included several of his 1880 landscapes of Mammès in the seventh group Impressionist exhibition. By that point, some members of the original Impressionist group, like Degas and Cassatt, were splintering off and experimenting with new styles. Although this work was not included in that show, it closely relates to this group of pictures and is a perfect example of the type of landscape painting that would come to define his art. As Raymond Cogniat writes, "For [Sisley], Impressionism was not an attitude to be adopted, a sterile formula dictated by the ideas and the movements of the period. It was an accurate and sincere expression of his nature; the proof of this is that the artist never sought to break away and try to find other routes to success" (Raymond Cogniat, Sisley, New York, 1978, p. 74).