In 1889, Alfred Sisley left Veneux to settle in Moret-sur-Loing, where he remained until his death in 1899. Moret-sur-Loing was a small village just twenty miles south-east of Paris that he had visited several times during the 1880s. The village and its surroundings were 'essentially an Impressionist place with the gentle light of the Ile de France...green woods and pastures, curving tree-lined banks of rivers, canals, and narrow streams, wide stretches of river where the Loing joins the Seine at Saint-Mammès' (V. Couldry, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, London, 1992, p. 68).
The river Loing itself provided the greatest source of inspiration for Sisley. He painted a number of landscapes from different vantage points along the banks of the river during this ten year period. As Richard Shone has observed, '[Sisley] was indefatigable in his exploration of the Loing...Paintings of the Canal de Loing, with two paths on either side, gave expression to his love of clustered lines of perspective running to a low horizon; towering poplars along its banks give those marked vertical division that make for strong surface pattern, offsetting the diagonals that take us gently into the distance' (R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 144). According to Christopher Lloyd, 'these paintings show him at the height of his powers... All the experience of the previous decades was blended in these canvases which amount to the summation of his output: the paint is richly applied with the impasto more pronounced than in previous works, the brushwork more insistently rhythmical, the execution more rapid, and the colors more vibrant (C. Lloyd, 'Alfred Sisley and the Purity of Vision,' Alfred
Sisley, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 25)
One of the earliest documented owners of Canal du Loing, effet du matin, was the dealer Isidore Montaignac, who had worked at the famous Galerie Georges Petit and who in 1886, had set up his own gallery at 9, rue Caumartin. Montaignac sold Canal du Loing, effet du matin, in a grand sale of his collection in 1917, where it was purchased by Wilhem Hansen (1868-1936), the important Danish collector of French and Danish Art, part of whose collection later formed the core of the Ordrupgaard Museum, Copenhagen. Later in the twentieth century Canal du Loing, effet du matin, was handled by the renowned Paris connoisseur and dealer in 19th and 20th-century art, Huguette Berès, and afterwards entered the distinguished collection of the present family in 1958. This will be the first appearance at auction of Canal du Loing, effet du matin, since 1918.