Lot 42
  • 42

Alfred Sisley

Estimate
800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP
Sold
866,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Alfred Sisley
  • La route de Verrières
  • signed Sisley and dated '72 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris

Monsieur Picq-Véron, Ermont-Eaubonne (acquired from the above on 25th June 1892)

Private Collection, Germany

Alex Reid & Lefevre, London (acquired by 1930)

Gustav Söderland, Stockholm (acquired by 1938)

Bignou Gallery, New York (acquired by 1942)

Private Collection, New York

Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Glasgow, Reid & Lefevre, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century French Paintings, 1930, no. 19 (titled Paysage)

Stockholm, Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, Fransk Konst, 1938, no. 147 (titled Paysage)

New York, Bignou Gallery, A Selection of 19th Century French Paintings, 1942, no. 17

New York, Bignou Gallery, Landscapes of France, 1944, no. 16

New York, Carroll Carstairs Gallery, Six Impressionists, 1945, no. 8, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Sisley, 1966, no. 8, illustrated in colour on the cover

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., One Hundred Years of Impressionism: Tribute to Durand-Ruel, 1970, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Alfred Sisley, 1971, no. 6, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Nature as Scene. French Landscape Painting from Poussin to Bonnard, 1975, no. 62

Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art; Kagawa, Takamatsu Municipal Museum of Art; Hiroshima, Museum of Art & Wakayama, Departmental Museum of Modern Art, Exposition Alfred Sisley, 2000, no. 2, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Maastricht, Noortman Master Paintings, One Hundred Master Paintings, 2007, no. 99, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Literature

François Daulte, Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 34, illustrated

John Ashberry, ‘The Unknown Sisley’ in Art News, vol. 65, no. 7, November 1966, illustrated in colour p. 45

François Daulte, Sisley. Les Saisons, Lausanne, 1992, illustrated in colour p. 24

Alfred Sisley (exhibition catalogue), The Royal Academy, London, 1992-93, mentioned p. 124

Catalogue Note

In 1872 Sisley moved out of Paris to the small town of Louveciennes and this move heralded a period of immense productivity for him. Situated just to the South-West of Paris, Louveciennes – like Argenteuil, Bougival and Port-Marly – is part of the area that has become synonymous with the birth of Impressionism. From here Sisley would venture out into the neighbouring countryside and, inspired by the surroundings, begin to develop the subjects that would proliferate in his œuvre over the following years.

La route de Verrières is one of a number of works exploring the motif of a road leading into the distance that Sisley painted during the years he lived at Louveciennes (fig. 1). He took for his subject the road running between Verrières – a small village approximately fifteen miles to the west of Louveciennes – and the village of Meudon on the way to Paris. This view, with its curving road, zigzagging into the distance, offered a compositional complexity that appealed to Sisley, and he deftly measures the balance of this landscape against a broad expanse of sky. François Daulte writes: ‘The Impressionists, and particularly Pissarro and Renoir, took up the theme of a road disappearing into the distance, but it was Sisley who accorded it an important place in his œuvre. Whether he painted the road turning towards Verrières [the present work], a lane bordered by trees stretching into the hazy distance, or the tracks climbing through the vineyards and across the high terraces, he always sought to express his passion for space. Even the little figures who come and go […] serve less to animate the scene than to suggest landmarks in the landscape and indicate the proportions of nature’ (F. Daulte, Sisley. Les Saisons, op. cit., p. 22, translated from French).

The early 1870s were pivotal years for Sisley: the move to Louveciennes had given him a new sense of artistic purpose, around 1872 he was introduced to the Parisian dealer Durand-Ruel who would be one of his few major supporters over the following years, and he became involved with the group of artists, many of whom – including Monet and Renoir – he had met in the studio of Marc-Gabriel-Charles Gleyre, who were planning what would become the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. The influence of his fellow Impressionists is evident in this early work. Sisley was already painting sur la motif, working directly onto the canvas to record his immediate reaction to the world around him, and in La route de Verrières he masterfully conjures the scene before him using light, staccato brushstrokes to build an even tonality. The subject matter of the present work also bears an undeniable stamp of modernity. Mary Anne Stevens notes that the ‘road’ was a common subject among the Impressionists and explains: ‘These artists, as visitors from Paris, appear mesmerised by the idea of the road as the way in and out of a village, bearing them both to and from the city which remained the focus of their artistic existence’ (M. A. Stevens, op. cit., Alfred Sisley (exhibition catalogue), p. 120).

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