Jacques Baschet wrote of Le Sidaner’s style in his newspaper, L’Illustration in 1924: “He is a pointillist, but not the kind who decomposes tones and applies them unmixed, thereby letting our eyes reconstitute the colors on our retina. His palette is extremely varied and subtle. The oils bind and melt together in highly delicate harmonies. Nor is he the kind to enclose forms within a heavy brushstroke, as is the practice among the younger school of painters. With him, contours seem to emerge from the interplay of light, and in this respect, he is similar to Claude Monet” (quoted in Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 37). His creative process is further revealed through a charming anecdote from the artist’s son, Rémy: “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).
The present work is striking for its glistening and jewel-like palette but above all for being exemplary of the artist’s much-fêted ability to capture the intangible and mystical atmosphere of a particular moment in time. He was not a painter of people but a painter of the nuances of place and of time: “He considered that the silent harmony of things is enough to evoke the presence of those who live among them. Indeed such presences are felt throughout his works. Deserted they may be, but never empty” (Camille Mauclair, op. cit., p. 12).
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