Lot 48
  • 48

ALFRED SISLEY | Canal du Loing à Saint-Mammès

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Sisley
  • Canal du Loing à Saint-Mammès
  • Signed Sisley and dated 85 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 18 1/8 by 21 3/4 in.
  • 46 by 55.3 cm
  • Painted in 1885.


Lacroix Collection (and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 12, 1902, lot 64)

Ernest Cognacq, Paris (acquired at the above sale)

Private Collection, Paris (acquired by 1959)

Peter Matthews, London

Private Collection, London


François Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 526, illustrated n.p. (dated 1884)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1885, Canal du Loing, Saint-Mammès depicts the landscape around the 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 Seine at Saint-Mammès, and between 1882 and 1885 executed a series of works depicting the water in different seasons and times of day (see figs. 1 & 2). 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.).

Similar to Monet, Sisley continued to explore and develop the Impressionist style during the 1880s and 1890s. It was towards 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 a lively example of many of the oils dating from the late 1870s and the 80s. 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.