Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Henri Le Sidaner
1862 - 1939
signed Le Sidaner (lower left)
oil and pencil on canvas
74.3 by 82.2cm., 29 1/4 by 32 3/8 in.
Painted in Venice in 1906.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report


Galerie Georges Petit, Paris
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 14th December 1927, lot 111
Private Collection, England (acquired by 1928)
The British Printing Corporation Ltd., London (sold: Christie's, London, 24th June 1966, lot 19)
Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal
William Allan Manford, Toronto
Private Collection (by descent from the above circa 1985. Sold: Christie's, New York, 16th May 2017, lot 477)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Paris, Salon de la S.N.B.A., 1906, no. 780
London, Goupil Gallery, Henri Le Sidaner, Venise: du crépuscule à la nuit: oil paintings and studies by Henri le Sidaner, 1906, no. 4


Camille Mauclair, Henri Le Sidaner, Paris, 1928, n.n., illustrated p. 45
Edouard-Joseph, Dictionnaire biographique des artistes contemporains, 1910-1930, Paris, 1931, illustrated p. 383
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, L'œuvre peint et gravé, Milan, 1989, no. 212, illustrated p. 107

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1906, L'horloge de la place Saint Marc is part of a celebrated series of works that Henri Le Sidaner completed after his first trip to Venice, a three-week sojourn in November 1905. The city had long been attractive to painters interested in capturing the nuances and variations of light and atmosphere. The singular architecture of the city, the extensive network of canals, and the glittering light of the Adriatic provided endless inspiration for artists like Boudin, Monet, and even Turner before them. During his time in Venice, Le Sidaner wandered the narrow and winding streets and canals, mostly on his own, exploring every corner of the city and making copious sketches of his surroundings. After completing the first few canvases depicting the city in early 1906 (see fig. 1), Le Sidaner enjoyed two critically-acclaimed exhibitions in London and in Paris before returning to the lagoon in the autumn of that year.

The present work is striking for its glistening and jewel-like palette and also for being exemplary of the artist’s much-fêted ability to capture the intangible and mystical atmosphere of a particular moment in time. It depicts a partial view of Piazza San Marco, where a few figures mingle in front of the blue clock tower, almost blending entirely into the architecture. Describing the artist's creative process, Rémy Le Sidaner, the artist's son who accompanied the artist on his Venice trips as a child, once wrote: 'My father would give me his usual sign and we would stop still whilst he scrutinised the horizon, committing what he saw to memory...he often made a colour sketch of the site, but this had nothing to do with the effect, which would later be committed to canvas in his studio from memory alone; they were too fleeting and too changeable to be painted on the spot' (Rémy Le Sidaner, 'Le Peintre Henri Le Sidaner tel que j’ai connu', in Henri le Sidaner (exhibition catalogue), Musée Marmotton, Paris, 1989, p. 11).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale