Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

New York

Henri Le Sidaner
1862 - 1939
Signed Le Sidaner (lower right)
Oil on canvas
36 1/4 by 28 3/4 in.
92 by 73 cm
Painted in 1929. 
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M Leon, Paris
Galerie Fricker, Crespières
Private Collection, France (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 16, 1989, lot 340)
Acquired at the above sale


Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, 1929, no. 4
Paris, Musée Galliera, Retrospective Le Sidaner, 1948, no. 31
Pont-Aven, Hôtel de Ville, Autour de Gauguin, 1967, no. 31
Paris, Galerie Passy-Vendome, Et vie le post-impressionisme, 1975, no. 53
Paris, Galerie Barbizon, Post-impressionisme, 1979, n.n. 


Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, L’Oeuvre peint et gravé, Paris, 1989, no. 655, illustrated p. 243

Catalogue Note

In April 1901, upon his arrival in Gerberoy, Le Sidaner was immediately “seized with a burning ambition. He longed to plan a garden of his own, in which the landscape would be designed by him personally and in which he could achieve his favorite effects of light” (op. cit., p. 14). Le Sidaner fulfilled his dream of creating an ideal setting in which to translate fleeting atmospheric moments onto canvas. He experimented under different light conditions, each time of day representing a different facet of a lost art de vivre. In 1935, four years before his death, he delivered a speech to celebrate the three decades he had spent in the village: "And when it is my time to go, I am sure I shall be seized with a vision of my modest cottage in Gerberoy, where trembling fingers will adorn the shutters with a single branch of greenery, enhanced by heavy roses, bringing us that elusive grace which characterizes the blossoming of nature" (ibid., p. 19). 

In La Gloriette, Gerberoy, Le Sidaner creates an atmosphere of meditative contemplation with his adroit handling of light and color. The table is set carefully with deliberately placed objects. The absence of figures allows one’s imagination to awaken and to be fully present in the fleeting dusk. The spectrum of orange, yellow and pink hues cast by the spherical lanterns draws the viewer into the intimacy of the scene, which is at once filled with a sense of mystery and tranquility. Le Sidaner was well-aware that he would not have time to depict the interplay of light and their changing reflections, especially during dusk. Instead, he focused on fully immersing himself in the moment in order to recreate it more perfectly once it had passed. As the artist’s son, Rémy Le Sidaner, recalls, “When my father caught one of these 'special effects', he nodded in my direction and stood there, gazing out towards the horizon, impressing on his mind the scene he had just witnessed” (quoted in ibid., p. 10).

Le Sidaner was not alone in his sensitivity to quiet and poetic beauty. In La Gloriette, Gerberoy, the artist’s visceral sense of atmosphere is present in the rich tonalities and the muted musicality of the composition. The viewer wonders if the table has been abandoned or if the guests will return; one feels the urge to be present in the quiet suspension of time, acknowledging the passing nature of life. The lanterns add to the magical and fleeting quality of the light, as if immortalizing dusk into infinity. Camille Mauclair describes this moment in the conclusion to his book, “It is l’heure de Le Sidaner, the time when he is most profoundly himself... The colors become spiritual as they resist the falling darkness to which they will ultimately succumb. The ordinary is transformed into magic by the miracle of the moment and of the silence. Le Sidaner is able to depict the sweetness of life transfigured by love and made visible through physical objects” (Camille Mauclair, Henri Le Sidaner, Paris, 1928, p. 252). 

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

New York