Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
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Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)

Vue de Moret

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Vue de Moret
signed and dated 'Sisley.89.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23¾ x 29 in. (60.5 x 73.5 cm.)
Painted in 1889
Galerie Raphaël Gérard, Paris.
Jacques Spiess, Paris.
Private collection, France, by whom acquired from the above in 1976; sale, Christie's, London, 4 February 2008, lot 72 (£446,100).
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No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The Comité Alfred Sisley has confirmed the authenticity of this

Painted in 1889, Vue de Moret dates from the year of Sisley's return to the titular town on the River Loing, near Fontainebleau. Sisley had moved to Moret-sur-Loing originally at the beginning of the decade, but had then left it, living in other towns in the vicinity, making sure that he was never too far away and that he was therefore still able to capture the many viewpoints that it offered, be it the church, the watermills, the bridge or, as here, the boatyard a little downstream from the settlement. The scene in Vue de Moret was clearly one that appealed to Sisley, as he painted it several times, firstly in a group of pictures from the previous year, and then again in another work now in the Yale University Art Gallery, Moret-sur-Loing - temps pluvieux (D.814). There is an engaging human content in the figures in the foreground, adding a contrast with the more distant houses and other buildings in the background.

While Sisley had deliberately maintained his proximity to Moret, allowing him to paint it again and again from his nearby homes, his return in November 1889 allowed him to tackle the subjects all the more easily. The lack of foliage on the trees in Vue de Moret implies that this picture may well date from this period of return. The picture is suffused with the pinks of the rising sun, casting their shadows in the trees, allowing Sisley to explore the fleeting vision and fleeting sensations that made him such a celebrated Impressionist, especially amongst his peers. Henri Matisse, for example, was moved to state that, 'A Cézanne is a moment of the artist while a Sisley is a moment of nature' (Henri Matisse, quoted in C. Lloyd, 'Alfred Sisley and the Purity of Vision', pp. 5-33, M Stevens (ed.), Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., New Haven and London, 1992, p. 5).

The paintings that Sisley created in Moret-sur-Loing are often considered to be his most assured, as he investigated and captured the various light effects and views of his beloved new home. His success during this period was evidenced by the first purchase of one of his paintings by the State earlier in 1889. His enthusiasm for the location had already been evident when, early on in his stay in the area, he had written to his friend Claude Monet, encouraging him to make a prolonged visit:

'Moret is two hours from Paris, and there are plenty of houses to rent from 600 to 1000 francs. A market once a week, a very fine church and some picturesque views. So, if you're thinking of coming down this way, why not call in and see for yourself?' (Alfred Sisley, quoted in V. Couldrey, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, Newton Abbot, 1992, p. 68).

Having moved back there in 1889, Sisley did not move away, and indeed when he died a decade later, a local subscription was raised in order for the populace to be able to raise a monument in honour of the man who had so often celebrated their town in his paintings.

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