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

Moret sur Loing

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Moret sur Loing
signed 'Sisley.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
12 5/8 x 15 5/8 in. (32 x 39.7 cm.)
Painted in 1887
Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
M. & Mme Jean Larivière.
Acquired by the present owner in the 1990s.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

The Comité Alfred Sisley has confirmed the authenticity of this painting and will include it in the new edition of the Alfred Sisley catalogue raisonné by François Daulte, being prepared at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau.

Painted in 1887, just a year before Sisley settled permanently in the charming medieval town of Moret-sur-Loing for the last decade of his life, this rendering of the Pont de Moret was amongst the first he painted of this preferred motif.

Approximately forty miles southeast of Paris, near Fontainbleau, Moret-sur-Loing, with its particular historic charm and natural beauty, perfectly fit the mold of the artist's ideal subject matter. As art historian Richard Shone observed, 'Here [in Moret] were water, sky, reflections, a busy riverside; the multi-arched bridge was for the artist the last in a long line of such structures going back through Svres and St. Cloud and Hampton Court to Argenteuil and Villeneuve-la-Garanne. Here was that conjunction of man-made and natural, the interleaving of foliage and house fronts between sky and water, that marked Sisley's first Impressionist canvases on the Canal St.-Martin' (Sisley, New York, 1992, p. 159).

In the present lot, Sisley depicts Moret-sur-Loing, as seen from the opposite bank of the Loing River in the early hours of the day. With painterly, confident brushstrokes the artist perfectly captures the purple hues of morning light and the fragmented reflections across the dappled surface of water. The iconic architectural arches of the bridge which link the town centre with the road to Saint-Mamms dominate the composition, dividing the canvas between the expanse of sky above and the river in the foreground. Not unlike his artistic counter-parts, Sisley demonstrated his enthusiasm for the subject by painting it repeatedly en plein air from various vantages along the river bank, at any time of day, and in various seasons. The paintings which Sisley created in Moret-sur-Loing are often thought to be his most assured, as he explored the various light effects on this idyllic stretch of the Loing River.

While the Pont de Moret remained Sisley's chosen motif at the end of his life, he would also focus an entire series of works on the church of this small town, the Église de Notre-Dame, in 1893-1894. In 1899, when the artist died, the populace of Moret-sur-Loing sought to raise a monument in honour of the artist who so often celebrated their town in his paintings.

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