The Comité Alfred Sisley has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.
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 at the boatyard at Matrat, immediately downstream from Moret, looking back toward the town. Sisley had painted the boatyard the year before in Le chantier à Matrat - coucher de soleil sur Loing - Moret (D.693, private collection; see also D.660-672 and D.691). Sisley returned to the scene again three years later to paint a very similar view in 1892, Moret-sur-Loing - temps pluvieux (D.814 Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven). The scene in the present painting demonstrates the artist's continuing interest in the effects of different weather conditions and light on a given landscape. The boatyard and river are depicted beneath an expansive, cloud-flecked sky. Stately trees line the banks, silhouetted against the sky and casting long shadows in the winter light, 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.