Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Please note for tax purposes, including potential … Read more Property from the Collection of Elizabeth StaffordIn the late 1960’s, we were on a plane and I got to sit next to my father. He would relax when he knew he was headed for a vacation with his family. The stress of work in the days before the easy access to 24-hour news and stock apps on your phone, would get to him. But now he was all ours. We could talk, walk holding hands, play, hang by the beach with him. But on a family trip, relaxation also made him quite a philosopher. So, on the plane, he asked each of us—my two teenaged brothers and myself—what would we do if we had $1000. My older brother said he would invest it. He would buy IBM stocks. But maybe he would indulge a bit and take some of that money to buy another magnetic tape recorder machine, better than the one he was presently schlepping to record sounds of our trip. Yes, sounds. That was a thing then. He later became a banker and then an entrepreneur in the solar panel business. My middle brother thought for a long time. He finally stated that he would buy a farm so he could grow vegetables and fruits. Everybody could use veggies and fruits, he reasoned. He could sell them or even give them away if he had too much. He later became a dessert chef and then a public school special aid teacher. Finally, my turn came. I couldn’t wait! I flatly told my father I would exchange the $1000 for the “white Monet” hanging in his room. He chuckled, surprised. “Why a painting,” he asked? “I like it. It’s pretty. I can feel the snow.” Well, we forgot to take him up on that offer. Luckily, that painting and others surrounded us as we grew up. From the walls of our parents’ home to the walls of museums, they made us, and the public that saw them, appreciate the artists that created the beauty in each stroke, the atmosphere they conveyed, the thoughts they conjured in our minds: the foggy cold in Effet de neige à Giverny; the budding shyness of Spring in Veneux-Nadon; the lush, hot colors on Giverny rooftops; the dusty grandeur of the Tuileries gardens in the afternoon, as well as the crispy, cold, barren Fall at Eragny. This is what art gives you. That is what you never forget. E. Alexandra Stafford
Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)

Printemps à Veneux-Nadon

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Printemps à Veneux-Nadon
signed 'Sisley.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
17 1/8 x 24 1/8 in. (43.4 x 61.2 cm.)
Painted in 1882
Paul Durand-Ruel, Paris (by July 1884).
Marie-Louise d'Alayer (née Durand-Ruel), Paris (by descent from the above, circa 1922 and until at least 1942).
Sam Salz, Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 28 October 1960.
G. Jedlicka, Sisley, Bern, 1949 (illustrated, pl. 28; dated 1879-1882).
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 470 (illustrated; with incorrect provenance).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Alfred Sisley, January-February 1937, no. 29.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, June-July 1955, p. 39, no. 42 (illustrated, p. 28).
New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, Odyssey of an Art Collector: Unity in Diversity, Five-Thousand Years of Art, November 1966-January 1967, p. 175, no. 184 (illustrated in color, p. 111).
New Orleans Museum of Art (on extended loan 1977-March 2018).
Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans, Peintures françaises du Museum of Art de la Nouvelle Orléans, May-September 1984, pp. 58-59. no. 21 (illustrated, p. 58).
Memphis, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Miami, Center for the Fine Arts; Wilmington, Delaware Art Museum; Grosse Point Shores, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House; Oklahoma City Art Museum and Vero Beach, Florida, Center for the Arts, French Painting of Three Centuries from the New Orleans Museum of Art, January 1992-February 1993, p. 66, no. 26 (illustrated in color, p. 67).
Fukushima, Koriyama City Museum of Art; Kanagawa, Sogo Museum of Art; Nara Sogo Museum of Art and Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, French Art of Four Centuries from the New Orleans Museum of Art, February-August 1993, pp. 61 and 145-146, no. 27 (illustrated in color, p. 61; illustrated again, p. 145; detail illustrated in color).
New Orleans Museum of Art, Reinventing Nature: Art from the School of Fontainebleau, January-May 2013.
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Lot Essay

In January 1880, struggling to make ends meet, Sisley moved from the Paris suburbs to the more remote and rural region near the confluence of the Seine and the Loing, about seventy-five miles southeast of the capital. In the town of Veneux-Nadon, he found a sizable house, just a few minutes’ walk from both the village center and the rail station, where he would live until fall 1882; a nearby footbridge over the train tracks gave easy access to the left bank of the Seine, and the Forest of Fontainebleau was a short jaunt to the west. “The situation was ideal,” Richard Shone has written, “for the variety of the immediate landscape—farmland and forest, rail, river and canal, cottage gardens on the one hand, overgrown copses on the other, the whole area teeming with chance viewpoints and constantly changing light” (Sisley, London, 1992, p. 128).
During his early years in the region, Sisley frequently painted in the orchards and meadows that lead from Veneux-Nadon down to the Seine, as well as exploring the steep slopes that line that river as it loops northward toward the villages of Thoméry and By. In the present canvas, a quietly luminous springtime view from 1882, he focused his attention on a row of fruit trees that had just come into flower, heralding the new growing season.
Breaking with the methodical unfolding of pictorial space into depth that was a hallmark of academic landscape practice, Sisley painted the trees as a continuous band that extends from one edge of the canvas to the other, making their presence emphatically felt. The cottony white blossoms, described with spirited touches of cream-colored impasto, find a visual echo in the drifting banks of cumulus cloud above. The narrow swath of green in the foreground, where two women gather dried grasses, provides the viewer with a stable vantage point from which to enjoy—as Sisley most clearly did—the immediate pleasures of this bucolic landscape.

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