Lot 41
  • 41

Alfred Sisley

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


  • Alfred Sisley
  • La Seine à Bougival
  • Signed Sisley (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 19 1/2 by 25 5/8 in.
  • 49.4 by 65.1 cm


Christian Otto Zieseniss (acquired before 1929)

Catalogue Note

Sisley's depiction of the late afternoon in Bougival, dates from the prime of his involvement with the Impressionist group in the mid-1870s.  After the Prussian siege of Paris in 1871, Sisley decided to move with his family to the village of Louveciennes, situated on the river Seine, about thirty kilometers west of the capital, and in the winter of 1874 they moved to the neighboring Marly-le-Roi. During his time there, Sisley painted a number of scenes of the village and its winding streets. This setting provided the artist with a new creative impetus and, once settled, he started working with fresh energy. He explored the beauty of the Seine valley, and took delight in painting this new environment, trying to capture the effects of season, weather and time of day on the countryside, and experimenting with the effects of light and color. Here he focused on the river, with its tree-lined banks and the sky reflected on its surface, the houses of Bougival barely visible through the trees on the right.   

Writing about Sisley's paintings executed in this region, Vivienne Couldrey observed: "In the area of Louveciennes along the valley of the Seine he found waiting for him the kind of landscape he was to love all his life. Westward from Paris the Seine winds in large loops through Suresnes, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Argenteuil, Bougival, Sèvres, Ville d'Avray, Louveciennes, Noisy-le-Roi, Port-Marly; the villages are strung along the river, clustered around Versailles" (V. Couldrey, op. cit., p. 33). This was a period of relative prosperity for the artist, marked by his enthusiasm for painting en plein air. La Seine à Bougival reflects the tranquility of the landscape that fascinated Sisley, who focused on its natural elements.

Discussing the compositional decisions Sisley took when painting works such as La Seine à Bougival, Christopher Lloyd writes: "The group of paintings by Sisley dating from the 1870s are subject to the strictest pictorial organisation. It is this compositional aspect, in addition to their facture, that makes these paintings, in comparison with landscapes by artists of the Barbizon School, specifically modern. Sisley incorporates an almost relentless array of horizontals, verticals and diagonals deployed as plunging perspectives and flat bands of planar divisions [...]. Yet, Sisley, more so in many cases than even Pissarro and Monet, was more radical than any of his sources, since he seeks to bring order to a world in an ever increasing state of flux. The depiction of modernity was best served by a resolute style derived from astute visual analysis and confident technique" (C. Lloyd, in Alfred Sisley (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, pp. 14-15).