- Alfred Sisley
- Paysage de printemps, chemin aux environs de Moret-sur-Loing
- Signed Sisley and dated 89 (lower left)
- Oil on canvas
- 17 3/4 by 22 in.
- 45 by 56 cm
R. Banmeyer (and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1944, lot 110)
Frost and Reed Ltd., London
Sale: Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1970, lot 6
Arthur Tooth & Sons, Ltd., London (acquired by 1974)
Private Collection, Japan (and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 30, 1987, lot 24)
Acquavella Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Galerie Nichido, Tokyo (acquired in 1988)
Private Collection (acquired from the above circa 1989)
Private Collection (acquired from the above in March 2005 and sold: Christie's, London, New York, May 5, 2011, lot 318)
Acquired at the above sale
Ibaraki, Musée d'Art Moderne, Exposition Monet et ses amis, 1988, no. 62, illustrated in the catalogue
It was in 1880 Alfred Sisley settled with his family in the village of Moret-sur-Loing, fifty kilometers south of Paris, on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau. On August 31, 1881, he wrote to Monet: “Moret is two hours journey from Paris, and has plenty of places to let at six hundred to a thousand francs. There is a market once a week, a pretty church, and beautiful scenery round about. If you were thinking of moving, why not come and see?” (quoted in Sisley (exhibition catalogue), Wildenstein & Co., New York, 1966, n.p.).
Sisley remained in Moret until his death in 1899, and it was here that his work achieved its true maturity; incorporating both his favorite compositional motifs, such as a receding pathway surrounded by trees, and a distinctly Post-Impressionist approach to applying paint. Although it is Sisley who is most closely associated with the town, it attracted many other artists, including Pissarro who painted a number of works there in 1901 and 1902. The surrounding landscape of Moret provided limitless variation and opportunity for painting.
Gustave Geffroy wrote about Sisley’s obsessive mapping of Moret’s surroundings and landmarks: “And here is Moret bridge, the mill, the three poplars that Sisley so often celebrates… The atmosphere is pure and fresh; the masses of the houses and trees are clearly outlined in the pure air, with no halo of mist or of refracted sunlight. The rustic bridge arches the river to either side of the mill, behind are houses with cosy roofs, low, countrified buildings, a dense wood, three giant poplars. Reeds lean over at the water’s edge. A calm sky, with milk-white nimbus clouds unmoved by any breath of air. The bank is green, the bridge and houses are in harmonies of violet, closer to pink than to blue. The Loing, clear, transparent, unwrinkled, expansive, reflects stones and greenery, clouds and reedbeds. The river is as deep as the sky; it has the same wealth of forms as the landscape that it mirrors” (quoted in Alfred Sisley (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 234).
Richard Shone discusses the appeal of this location: "The fame of Moret rested not so much on what was found inside the town but on the view it presented from across the Loing. Old flour and tanning mills clustered along the bridge; the river, scattered with tiny islands, seemed more like a moat protecting the houses and terraced gardens that, on either side the sturdy Porte de Bourgogne, in turn defended the pinnacled tower of the church. Add to this the tree-lined walks along the river, the continuous sound of water from the weir and the great wheels of the mills, the houseboats and fishermen, and there was, as every guidebook exclaimed, ‘a captivating picture,’ a sight ‘worthy of the brush.’ These supremely picturesque aspects of Moret left Sisley unabashed. Gathered in one spot were the motifs that had mesmerized him since he began to paint. Here were water, sky, reflections, a busy riverside; the multi-arched bridge was for the artist the last in a long line of such structures going back through Sèvres and St-Cloud and Hampton Court to Argenteuil and Villeneuve-la-Garenne. Here was that conjunction of man-made and natural, the interweaving of foliage and house fronts between sky and water" (Richard Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 159).