ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
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ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
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ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)

Le village des Sablons, près de Veneux-Nadon

ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
Le village des Sablons, près de Veneux-Nadon
signed and dated ‘Sisley 85’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 21 7/8 in. (46.3 x 55.5 cm.)
Painted in 1885
Léon Payen, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 June 1916, lot 110.
Galerie Moos, Geneva.
Rudolf Staechelin, Basel (by 1956).
Rudolf Staechelin'sche Familienstiftung, Basel.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (by 1967).
Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 6 December 1978, lot 225.
Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owners.
F. Daulte, "Découverte de Sisley", Connaissance des Arts, Paris, no. 60, February 1957, p. 52 (illustrated).
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 566 (illustrated).
S. Brame and F. Lorenceau, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue critique des peintures et pastels, Lausanne, 2021, p. 239, no. 610 (illustrated in color).
Kunstmuseum Basel, Sammlung Rudolf Staechelin, May-June 1956, p. 18, no. 10 (illustrated).
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Impressionnistes, October-November 1967, no. 32 (illustrated in color).
Den Bosch, Noordbrabants Museum, A Feast of Colour: Post-Impressionists from Private Collections, 1990, pp. 204-205 and 256, no. 80 (illustrated in color).
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, 2008-2019 (on extended loan).

Lot Essay

Sisley moved to Moret-sur-Loing, a town in the countryside south-east of Paris, and lived there for the last twenty years of his life. There, he was determined to pursue one of the movement’s primary avowals: to paint en plein air, directly from nature. Along with Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, Sisley became preoccupied with the changing effects of light on the landscape in this area near Fontainebleau, and the present work features the little village of Les Sablons, is a fine example of his mature style.
The painting captures a full-leafed warm summer day, with the composition featuring the low horizon and large blue sky, elements which were so characteristic of Sisley’s landscapes, dappled by high fair-weather clouds. The artist often felt inspired by the sky, almost spiritually so. As he wrote in a letter to his friend Adolphe Tavernier: “the sky is not simply a background; its planes give depth (for the sky has planes, as well as solid ground), and the shapes of clouds give movement to a picture. What is more beautiful indeed than the summer sky, with its wispy clouds idly floating across the blue? What movement and grace! Don't you agree?’ They are like waves on the sea; one is uplifted and carried away” —Alfred Sisley.
In the foreground, a narrow road draws the viewer towards a distant cluster of dwellings, and past a humble house in the middle ground. A plainly-dressed female figure walks towards us, her apron and bonnet picked out in white. However, the scale of the figure renders her almost incidental to the work, as the artist instead concentrates on the timeless yet ever-changing effects of luminosity in the landscape. It is early morning or late afternoon, and despite the scattering of clouds in the sky, it is the vivid greens set against the diffused blue of the sky that draw in the eye and makes us see and experience the artist’s vision and affinity with nature.
Sisley had begun to use a color palette of pulsating intensity during this period. The lush vegetation in the foreground is rich, untamed, and dense. The brilliance and vitality of the climbing plants that cling to the building shine with a sunlit radiance. The brushwork, while loose, lively and fluid, is applied with control and confidence; its touches are deft and betray the hand of an Impressionist master, a true colorist at the height of his powers. The art historian Christopher Lloyd once commented on how meticulously organized Sisley’s compositions are, “bringing order to a world in an ever increasing state of flux,” and the present work amply demonstrates the truth of this observation (quoted in Alfred Sisley and the Purity of Vision, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992).

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