Comte Isaac de Camondo, Paris (purchased at the above sale)
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris
Joseph Hessel, Paris (acquired by 1922)
Catalina Pietri de Boulton, Caracas (probably acquired between 1922 and 1930)
John Boulton, Caracas
Sale: Christie's, London, Boulton Collection, 3rd December 1965, lot 35
Hervé Audremotte, Paris
Paul R. & Mary Haas, Texas (acquired from the above in 1966. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 5th February 2007, lot 49)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition de tableaux par Sisley, 1922, no. 35
Caracas, Fondacion Eugène Mendoza, Cien Anos de Pintura Moderna 1840-1940, 1957, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Acquavella Galleries, Inc., Four Masters of Impressionism, 1968, no. 49, illustrated in the catalogue
Gaston Diehl, El Arte Moderno Frances en Caracas, Caracas, 1959, no. 6
David Bjelajac, Private Visions, The Paul and Mary Haas Collection of Art, New York, 1987, illustrated in colour
Richard Shone discussed the appeal of this picturesque town: '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 interleaving of foliage and house fronts between sky and water' (R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 159).
Sisley was also fascinated by the river Loing, with its multi-arched bridge lined with mills which he painted from a multitude of viewpoints. For the present work, he set up his easel downstream from Moret, near the boatyard of Matrat, a subject of an earlier painting. Juxtaposing brushstrokes of bright yellow, green and purple tones, he captures the shifting effect of sunlight and shadows. Always preoccupied with the impressionist fashion of recording the changing play of light on the water, in the present work Sisley depicted this scene on a bright summer day, the intense blue sky with light scattered clouds and façades reflected on the surface of the river.
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).
The first owner of the present work was the Rouen industrialist and collector François Depeaux (1853-1920). The auction of his collection, held in Paris in 1906, contained 46 works by Sisley, including the present painting, as well as several important works by Monet. Le Loing à Moret, en été was purchased in this sale by Comte Isaac de Camondo (1851-1911), another collector with a particular passion for Sisley's and Monet's art. During the last period of Sisley's life, the two artists were very close. The treatment of the water surface in the present work certainly bears similarities with Monet's depictions of the lily pond at Giverny, and shows Sisley at the height of his Impressionist style.
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