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26

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

Alfred Sisley
L’INONDATION À PORT-MARLY, ROUTE DE SAINT-GERMAIN 
Estimate
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,040,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
26

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

Alfred Sisley
L’INONDATION À PORT-MARLY, ROUTE DE SAINT-GERMAIN 
Estimate
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,040,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Alfred Sisley
1839 - 1899
L’INONDATION À PORT-MARLY, ROUTE DE SAINT-GERMAIN 
Signed Sisley. and dated 1872. (lower right)
Oil on canvas 
19 3/4 by 25 5/8 in.
50.2 by 65.1 cm
Painted in 1872.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

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.

Provenance

Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on January 7, 1873)

M & Mme Jean d’Alayer, Paris (by descent from the above and until at least 1957)

Sam Salz, Inc., New York

Ronne & Joseph S. Wohl, New York (acquired from the above circa 1968)

Private Collection (by descent from the above)

Acquired from the above

Exhibited

(probably) London, 168 New Bond Street, Sixth Exhibition of the society of French Artists, no. 137 (titled Inundation on the Road to Saint-Germain)

Paris, Exposition centennale de l’art français (1800-1889), 1900, no. 619

Brussels, La Libre Esthétique, Exposition des Peintres Impressionnistes, 1904, no. 156

Paris, Galerie Rosenberg, Exposition d'une cinquantaine d'oeuvres de Sisley, 1904, no. 12

London, Grafton Galleries, A Selection from the Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, 1905, no. 281, illustrated in the catalogue 

Paris, Durand-Ruel, Exposition de 45 tableaux de Sisley, 1908, no. 27

London, Grosvenor House, Art Français, exposition d'art décoratif contemporain, 1800-1885, 1914, no. 74

Paris, Durand-Ruel, Tableaux de Sisley, 1914, no. 13

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Pissarro and Sisley, 1928, no. 21

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists, 1929, no. 17 

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Degas, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Sisley prior to 1880, 1931, no. 15 (titled L'Inondation)

New York, Union League Club, Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists, 1932, n.n.

San Francisco, The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Exhibition of French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day, 1934, no. 151, illustrated in the catalogue (titled The Flood)

Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, A Survey of French Painting Exhibition, 1934-35, no. 35, illustrated in the catalogue (titled The Flood)

Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art & Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, One Hundred Years French Painting, 1820-1920, 1935, no. 54

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, "Views on the Seine" by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, 1937, no. 7 

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Before 1890, 1938, no. 7 

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Alfred Sisley, Centennial 1840-1940, 1939, no. 11 

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition Alfred Sisley, 1957, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue 

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Collects: Paintings, Watercolors
and Sculptures from Private Collections
, 1968, no. 207 (titled Inundation and dated 1873)

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., "One Hundred Years of Impressionism"—A Tribute to Durand-Ruel, 1970, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue 

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Paris Cafés: Their Role in the Birth of Modern Art, 1985, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue 

Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti; Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza & Lyon, Musée des Beaux Arts, Alfred Sisley, Poeta del Impresionismo, 2002-03, no. 25, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

Vittorio Pica, Gli Impressionisit Francesi, Bergamo, 1908, illustrated p. 140

Charles-Louis Borgmeyer, "The Impressionist Masters" in Fine Arts Chicago Journal, vol. 1928, Chicago, 1913, illustrated p. 408

Jacques-Émile Blanche, Quatre-vingt ans de peinture libre, Paris, 1920, illustrated pl. 25

Gustave Geffroy, Sisley, Paris, 1923, illustrated pl. 2 (titled L'Inondation)

Gustave Geffroy, Sisley, Paris, 1927, illustrated pl. 2 (titled L'Inondation)

François Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 23, illustrated n.p.

François Daulte, Sisley, Milan, 1974, illustrated p. 43

De Renoir à Vuillard (exhibition catalogue), Musée Promenade, Marly-le-Roi, 1984, illustrated p. 128

Catalogue Note

L’Inondation à Port-Marly, route de Saint-Germain marks a watershed moment in Alfred Sisley’s career and firmly establishes the artist as a force of the Impressionist movement. Painted in 1872, the same year Claude Monet would create Impression, soleil levant (which two years later would lend its name to the art movement “Impressionism” based on a critical article by Louis Leroy; see fig. 1), L’Inondation à Port-Marly, route de Saint-Germain depicts one of the Impressionists favorite subjects—the river Seine, the towns that border it and the effects of weather, light and changing seasons on the interrelation between water, sky, town and landscape. While Monet and Camille Pissarro would both also depict occasions of flooding at various locations along the Seine, no other artist of this movement would capture the fleeting ephemeral effects of inundation so thoroughly (see fig. 2). A directly related oil to the present work formed a part of the Mellon collection, now at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (see fig. 3).

The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 proved devastating not just to France, but also to many of the young Impressionists. Pissarro and Monet fled to London, while Sisley had to retreat from the suburbs into the city center, as fighting was especially violent on the outskirts of Paris. Sisley’s father lost his business during the war and the relative comforts provided to his son swiftly vanished. For the next two years, Sisley would live in Paris, enduring the Prussian sieges against the capital. His studio in Bougival was decimated along with well over fifty of his paintings. Finally, in 1872, he was able to move outside of Paris once again, setting up household in the vicinity of Louveciennes.

As art historian Ann Dumas relates, “At Louveciennes Sisley established what was to become his habitual working practice in all the places he lived. He embarked on a detailed exploration of the range of locations and motifs that fell within a narrow compass of his home, often shifting only slightly his angle of vision or scrutinizing the same spot in different weather conditions. In some of the works produced at Louveciennes we see more early examples of what was to become Sisley’s familiar pattern of consciously exploring the same motif under contrasting effects of light or weather” (A. Dumas in Sisley, Poeta del Impresionismo (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 379).

In December of 1872, the Seine flooded—overflowing its banks, covering roads, sidewalks, quaysides and lapping at the doors of homes and businesses. A short distance away from Louveciennes lay the town of Port-Marly; it was in this small village that Sisley set up his easel and set out to capture this fleeting effect of water and light on a new, unfamiliar geography. Frances Fowle, art historian and author, writes of the present work: “A hanging sign projects from the wall of the À St. Nicolas, a wine merchant’s shop, barely distinguishable by its cream and peach-ochre walls on the left of the picture…. Sisley adopts a dramatic perspective, a characteristic of some of his earlier work at Argenteuil, when he was working alongside Monet. The strong diagonal of the pollarded chestnut trees leads the eye into the composition, which is formed by the building on the left and the telegraph pole on the right. The main focus of this picture is the rising flood…. Sisley is fascinated by the relationship between sky and water, and the reflections in the rising floodwater. The repeated verticals of the trees and the tall telegraph pole inject a rhythm into the composition… providing a natural counterpoint to the broad expanse of sky and water… Among the trees and on the river small boats can be seen, but Port-Marly itself appears almost deserted as the inhabitants take refuge from the rising floodwaters” (ibid., p. 422).

Sisley, more than any other member of the Impressionist group, would stay true to the mission and subject of Impressionism. In 1876 the Seine again flooded and again Sisley set up his easel in Port-Marly. The ensuing seven canvases, two of which are now in the Musée d’Orsay, take the same location and approach this vista from a variety of angles at a variety of stages of flood (see fig. 4). In each work the sky and water echo each other and provide the dramatic force behind the canvas. For, while Sisley’s canvases can seem discrete and calm, the magic of them lies in the inherent emotion he captures between these two primary elements of nature.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York