Lot 50
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ALFRED SISLEY | Les Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Alfred Sisley
  • Les Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès
  • Signed Sisley. (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 15 1/4 by 21 5/8 in.
  • 38.7 by 55 cm
  • Painted in 1884.


Dr. Poyet, Paris

Francisco & Ernestina Llobet, Buenos Aires

Ines Llobet de Gowland, Buenos Aires (by descent from the above)

Private Collection, Switzerland (and sold: Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1970, lot 16) 

Atherton (acquired at the above sale)

Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris

Acquired from the above on December 8, 2005


Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition d'oeuvres de Alfred Sisley, 1917, no. 96

London, The Lefevre Gallery, XIXth and XXth Century French Paintings and Drawings, 1966, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue 

London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Recent Acquisitions, 1967, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue


François Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 517, illustrated n.p.

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1884, Les Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès depicts the landscape around Saint-Mammès, a small village situated at the confluence of the rivers Seine and Loing, just north of Moret-sur-Loing. 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. Having painted numerous views of the bridge, river bank and quayside of Saint-Mammès in 1880-81, Sisley focused his attention on the Loing and its canal, which joined the Seine at Saint-Mammès, and between 1882 and 1885 executed a series of works depicting this area. For the present composition, Sisley set his easel at a quiet spot on the river bank, with only a few small figures going about their daily activities. In her discussion of this locale, Vivienne Couldrey noted: "It is an essentially Impressionist place with the gentle light of the Île-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 village of Saint-Mammès was ideally situated on the confluence of the two rivers, seventy kilometers upstream from Paris. As the meeting point of all the waterways crossing central France, from its earliest days the town’s fortunes were inextricably linked to the river. Thanks to its strategic location, it became one of the foremost centers of barge activity in the region, and for a long time played a significant role in the history of the inland waterways. Although Sisley never lived in the village of Saint-Mammès, he was certainly attracted to this region and to the painterly possibilities it offered him. As the critic Gustave Geffroy wrote in 1923: “He sought to express the harmonies that prevail, in all weathers and at every time of day, between foliage, water and sky, and he succeeded… He loved river banks; the fringes of woodland; towns and villages glimpsed through the old trees; old buildings swamped in greenery; winter morning sunlight; summer afternoons” (G. Geffroy, “Sisley” in Les Cahiers d’Aujourd’hui, Paris, 1923, n.p.).

Sisley, like Monet, continued to explore and develop the Impressionist style during the 1880s and 1890s. It was toward the end of the 1870s that his brushwork became more vigorous and the palette more varied. The brushwork in the present work is wonderfully fluid, its rhythmical application of paint so typical of many of the oils dating from the late 1870s and the 1880s. Richard Shone wrote: “Sisley worked in all seasons and weathers along this beautiful and still unspoilt bank of the Seine. Its topography gave him new configurations of space in which far horizons combined with plunging views below; the horizontals of skyline, riverbank and receding path are overlaid by emphatic verticals and diagonals to produce densely structured surfaces. This becomes particularly evident in his landscapes painted in winter or early spring, before summer foliage obscured these far-reaching lines of vision. It is then, too, that Sisley’s skies assume a greater variety and grandeur. With more subtlety than before, he determines the exact relation of the sky to the silhouette of the land. He knows how to differentiate its planes, order its clouds, diminish or enlarge its scope to produce a harmony inseparable from the landscape below” (R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 135).

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