Lot 38
  • 38

Alfred Sisley

1,800,000 - 2,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Sisley
  • La Passerelle – Chemin de halage du canal du Loing
  • Signed Sisley and dated 86 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 19 3/8 by 25 5/8 in.
  • 49.1 by 65.2 cm


Boussod, Valadon & Cie,, Paris

Charles Abadie, Paris (sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 17, 1913, lot 24)

Isidore Montaignac, Paris (acquired at the above sale)

M. Binoche, Paris

E. Von Mendelsohn, Berlin

Galeries Georges Petit, Paris

Acquired from the above by Christian-Otto Zieseniss prior to 1929


Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, Alfred Sisley, 1917, no. 87 

New York, The World’s Fair (Pavillon de la France), Five Centuries of French History Illustrated by Five Centuries of French Art, 1939-40, no. 362


L’Illustration, June 1939, vol. 97, no. 5023

Jean-Louis Vaudoyer, Les Impressionnistes de Manet à Cézanne, Paris, 1955, pl. 36

François Daulte, Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 649

L. Reidemeister, Auf den Spuren der Maler der Ile-de-France, Berlin, 1963, illustrated p. 147

Catalogue Note

Sisley first moved with his family to Veneux-Nadon near Moret-sur-Loing in 1880, and continued to live in that area for the rest of his life, moving several times between the two villages. The local scenery offered a constant source of inspiration to the artist, who tried to capture the relationship between land, water and sky as well as the changing effects of light on his surroundings. In her discussion of Sisley's paintings executed in this region, Vivienne Couldrey noted: "It is difficult to over-emphasise the importance of Moret, for Sisley painted most of his life's work in the area [...]. It is an essentially Impressionist place with the gentle light of the Ile de France, the soft colours and the constantly changing skies of northern France. There are green woods and pastures, curving tree-lined banks of rivers, canals and narrow streams, wide stretches of the river where the Loing joins the Seine at Saint-Mammès, old stone houses, churches and bridges" (V. Couldrey, Alfred Sisley, The English Impressionist, Exeter, 1992, p. 68).


In the present composition, two figures are depicted hauling a boat across the river along a tow path. The accentuated diagonal line that separates the path and the water leads the viewer's eye towards the depth of the landscape, with small houses lining the far bank of the river. The beautifully painted sky that occupies a large section of the composition 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.).