Lot 18
  • 18

ALFRED SISLEY | La vieille église de Moret, le matin au soleil

700,000 - 900,000 GBP
789,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Sisley
  • La vieille église de Moret, le matin au soleil
  • signed Sisley and dated 94. (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 66 by 81.5cm.
  • 26 by 32 1/8 in.
  • Painted in 1894.


Isidore Montaignac, Paris (sold: Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, Vente Montaignac, 1st December 1917, lot 84) Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen

Dr Christian Rovsing, Copenhagen (acquired from the above in 1922)

Thence by descent to the present owner


Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, Alfred Sisley, 1917, no. 13


Oscar Reuterswaerd, 'Sisley's Cathedrals: A study of the Church at Moret series', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. 39, March 1952, fig. 7, illustrated p. 200 François Daulte, Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 838, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Sisley first moved with his family to Veneux-Nadon near Moret-sur-Loing in 1880, and continued to live in that area for the rest of his life, moving several times between the two villages. The local scenery offered a constant source of inspiration to the artist, who tried to capture the relationship between land, water and sky as well as the changing effects of light on his surroundings. He took particular delight in the town's Gothic church of Notre-Dame and, in a manner strongly reminiscent of Monet’s series of depictions of the Rouen cathedral, Sisley created a large series of paintings showing the church from the angle that appeared most often on contemporary postcards (fig. 1). Discussing Sisley’s series of oils on this motif, which he considers to be ‘the most extensive exploration of one motif in his work’, Richard Shone writes: ‘All show the Église de Notre-Dame, always viewed from the south-west, and painted over a period of about a year – perhaps from summer 1893 to summer 1894. […] The church, of course, was not new to his work. Sisley had painted it on numerous occasions, the distinctive, benign summation of the roof-tops of Moret seen from across the Loing. Its tower appears on the horizon of several paintings made in the nearby countryside […]. Sisley himself had mentioned it in a letter to Monet a decade before as one of the attractions of the town. Now that he was settled only a short walk away from the church he began to realize the visual possibilities of its massive bulk above the surrounding cobbled streets’ (R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 162).

Shone describes the characteristic view of the church that Sisley chose to depict in a number of canvases on the subject, including the present work: ‘To the right, a pump and covered market provide foreground animation and a sense of scale; to the left, the rue de l’Église slips into the distance, with the wooded heights above the Loing just beyond. […] Incidental detail is kept to a minimum – passers-by change from picture to picture, a cart appears near the pump, a flight of birds whirls into the sky. Yet the church holds its ground, simple and ornate, bulky and delicate, as it receives the infinitely varied inflections of the light’ (ibid., p. 164).


This painting will be included in the new edition of the Catalogue Raisonné of Alfred Sisley by François Daulte now being prepared at the Galerie Brame & Lorenceau by the Comité Sisley.