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    Sale 1900

    Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

    6 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 84

    Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)

    Le printemps à Moret-sur Loing

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
    Le printemps à Moret-sur Loing
    signed 'Sisley' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    15¼ x 22 in. (38.7 x 55.8 cm.)
    Painted in 1891


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    This painting will be included in the new edition of the catalogue raisonné of Alfred Sisley by Francois Daulte now being prepared at Galerie Brame and Lorenceau by the Comité Alfred Sisley.


    The present picture depicts the Loing river at Moret, a picturesque town near the forest of Fontainebleau where Sisley lived for much of the final two decades of his life. The artist was captivated by Moret, and shortly after his arrival there in 1882, he tried to persuade Monet to join him: "Moret is just two hours journey from Paris, and has plenty of places to let at six hundred to a thousand francs. There is a market once a week, a pretty church, and beautiful scenery round about. If you were thinking of moving, why not come and see?" (quoted in Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 184). Moret also provided Sisley with a rich array of artistic motifs, from the medieval church and historic stone bridge to the grand avenues of poplars and humble wash-houses on the banks of the Loing. From 1888 onward, Sisley made a circular panorama of Moret, recording the town and the adjacent sweep of the river from every possible angle, in varying seasons and weather conditions. Discussing Sisley's work from this period, Christopher Lloyd has declared, "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" (ibid., p. 25).

    To paint the present canvas, Sisley set up his easel on the right bank of the Loing immediately downstream from Moret, looking back toward the town. The focus of the scene is the river itself, depicted beneath an expansive, cloud-flecked sky. Stately trees line the banks, their verdant spring foliage rendered in loose, lively strokes, and fragmented reflections play across the light-dappled surface of the water. The historic center of Moret is visible in the distance, with the tower of the church silhouetted against the sky (fig. 1). The stately arches of the bridge linking Moret with the road to Saint-Mammès, one of Sisley's favorite motifs in the region, are obscured here by the low, leafy branches of the tree on the left. In 1892, the year after he made the present picture, Sisley painted Moret from a very similar vantage point (Daulte, no. 814; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven). In the later canvas, however, the artist has stepped back slightly on the riverbank, revealing the activity of the Matrat boatyard in the foreground. The church of Moret, which dominated the view from the garden of Sisley's house, appears in the distance in many of the artist's paintings from the early 1890s. In 1893-1894, he made a series of a dozen canvases in which the flamboyant Gothic façade of the church is viewed at close range, recalling Monet's roughly contemporary series of Rouen Cathedral (D., nos. 818-822, 834-840).


    (fig. 1) View of Moret-sur-Loing in Sisley's day. BARCODE 25249675
    (fig. 1) View of Moret-sur-Loing in Sisley's day. BARCODE 25249675
    (fig. 1) View of Moret-sur-Loing in Sisley's day. BARCODE 25249675
    (fig. 1) View of Moret-sur-Loing in Sisley's day. BARCODE 25249675
    (fig. 1) View of Moret-sur-Loing in Sisley's day. BARCODE 25249675

    Provenance

    Dr. Charles Abadie, Paris.
    Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17 April 1913, lot 25.
    Galerie Tanner, Zurich (acquired at the above sale through Georges Bernheim).
    Bühler Koller, Winterthur (acquired from the above, 22 August 1917).
    Robert Bühler, Winterthur (by descent from the above, 1932).
    Private collection, Switzerland.


    Literature

    Du, December 1942, p. 49 (illustrated).
    F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 764 (illustrated).


    Exhibited

    Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Der unbekannte Winterthurer Privatbesitz 1500-1900, September-October 1942, no. 246.
    Basel, Kunsthalle, Impressionisten, September-November 1949, no. 104.
    Berne, Kunstmuseum, Alfred Sisley, February-April 1958, no. 76.