Please note that in the print catalogue for this sale, this lot appears as number 30T.
Galerie Le Barc de Boutteville, Paris
Ernst Chausson (acquired from the above and thence by descent and sold: June 5, 1936, lot 40)
Pierre Delebart, Paris
Edward Speelman, London (by 1960)
Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above on July 20, 1960, and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 1999, lot 115)
Private Collection, California (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 7, 2008, lot 9)
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman
London, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre), Important XIX & XX Century Paintings and Sculpture, 1975, no. 13, illustrated in color in the catalogue
London, The National Gallery, Seurat and the Bathers, 1997, no. 90, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Françoise Cachin, Signac, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 2000, no. 141, illustrated p. 180 and in color p. 95
Located to the northwest of Paris, the suburb of Asnières, where the present work was painted became a favored subject for avant-garde landscape painters in the 1880s. For example, Seurat's major paintings, Une baignade, Asnières and Une dimanche d'été à l'Ile de la Grande-Jatte were painted in the vicinity of Asnières. Indeed, John Leighton and Richard Thomson have observed that Asnières was "the site of Seurat's first large painting, [which] became for the next few years a key setting for experimental landscape painting" (J. Leighton & R. Thomson, Seurat and the Bathers [exhibition catalogue], The National Gallery, London, 1997, p. 137). In 1887 the parallel bridges at Asnières also appeared in paintings by van Gogh (The Bridges, Asnières, 1887, Zürich, Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection) and Emile Bernard (Iron Bridges, Asnières, 1887, New York, Museum of Modern Art).
Significantly, Signac painted three views of the same area, Seine at Asnières, 1885, the present work of 1887 and Bridge at Asnières (The stern of the Tub in the sun), 1888. He also made a sketch of this very composition on the occasion of its exhibition in Brussels in 1888 (see Fig. 2). Considering these three compositions in oil, John Leighton and Richard Thomson have remarked, "Spread over three years, as they are, this trio of paintings represent motifs within a few hundred meters of each other. Signac's loyalty to the site is equalled by the consistency with which he represented it. All three pictures render industry and leisure in some kind of balance, setting off sailing boats and riverside bistros against the gasworks, factories and busy bridges of these suburbs. In essence, this is a polarity similar to that employed by Seurat in the Bathers" (J. Leighton & R. Thomson, ibid., pp. 139-140).
The inscription, Op. 155, refers to the artist's numbering system to classify his paintings using the Latin 'Opus' (work). This practise stemmed from his interest in Charles Henry's studies of the rhythmic and harmonic analogies between music and painting, and Signac systematically employed this method of identification between 1887 and 1891.
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