ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
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ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
4 More
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art from the Collections of Arnold Gumowitz and The Anne Ulnick Foundation
ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)

Le Loing à Saint-Mammès

ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
Le Loing à Saint-Mammès
signed 'Sisley.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
19 ½ x 25 5⁄8 in. (50.5 x 65 cm.)
Painted in 1883
Constant-Benoît Coquelin, Paris; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 27 May 1893, lot 56.
Emile Boivin, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Comtesse d'Orglandes, Paris (by descent from the above, until at least 1971).
Private collection, Europe (acquired from the above, then by descent); sale, Christie's, London, 4 February 2015, lot 11.
Acquired at the above sale by Arnold and Anne Ulnick Gumowitz.
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 487 (illustrated).
S. Brame and F. Lorenceau, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue critique des peintures et des pastels, Paris, 2021, pp. 217 and 467, no. 542 (illustrated in color, pp. 217 and 467).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Alfred Sisley, May-September 1957, Paris, no. 40.
Kunstmuseum Bern, Alfred Sisley, February-April 1958, no. 50.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Alfred Sisley, February-March 1971 no. 38 (illustrated).

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Celebrating the picturesque charm of the networks of waterways near his home, Le Loing à Saint-Mammès illustrates Alfred Sisley’s enduring fascination with the quiet meanderings of the Seine’s tributaries across the towns and countryside of the Île de France. Painted in 1883, the work belongs to a concentrated series of landscapes of this stretch of the river Loing that the artist executed in the early 1880s, as he continued to explore the potential of painting en-plein-air. Resting his eye on a place where the landscape shaped by humans meets nature’s wild abundance, as the edge of the village reaches the banks of the river, Sisley captures a sense of the fundamental character of this familiar region during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
When Sisley moved to the region of Moret-sur-Loing and Saint-Mammès in 1880, he discovered a landscape that in many ways spoke directly to his artistic vision and sensibility. The artist first rented a home in Veneux-Nadon, a small village bordering the railway connecting Lyon to Paris, before moving in the fall of 1882 to the neighboring town of Moret-sur-Loing. Sisley was clearly satisfied with his new setup, writing to Claude Monet in 1882, shortly after his move: “It’s not a bad part of the world, a chocolate-box landscape… Moret is two hours away from Paris, with plenty of houses to rent… Market once a week, very pretty church, some quite picturesque views…” (quoted in S. Patin, “Veneux-Nadon and Moret-sur-Loing: 1880-1899 in M.A. Stevens, ed., Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 184). His principal subjects during this period were the quays and waterways at nearby Saint-Mammès, a bustling river-port that occupies the right angle formed by the banks of the Seine and the Loing as they meet. Sisley had experimented during the later 1870s with the creation of small sequences of paintings, depicting the same subject from different viewpoints and under changing conditions, and this nascent serial procedure became more systematic and pronounced during these years. He recorded the sweep of the river at Saint-Mammès from every possible angle, shifting his position or simply adjusting his line of sight to create a circular panorama—a veritable visual map—of the town and the countryside surrounding his home.
Although Sisley continued to stay true to the central tenets of Impressionism, working en plein air and concentrating on light, color and atmosphere in his paintings, his compositions from this period exhibit a more marked interest in exploring intense tones, complementary colors and varying surface textures. In Le Loing à Saint-Mammès he employs a shimmering palette of deep greens, rich oranges, soft lilacs and rose pinks to animate the towpath and grassy banks in the foreground, using small dabs and short, thin vertical brushstrokes in a manner that echoes the early experiments of the Neo-Impressionists. In contrast, the layered expanse of sky is articulated in a variety of long, fluid, horizontal and hooked strokes that overlap and interweave in a tapestry of subtly modulated, pastel hues. As was typical of Sisley’s work, the transient, ephemeral nature of the sky, its ever-changing dance of sunlight and clouds, shifting colors and captivating effects, occupies a vital role in the painting. “The sky cannot be mere background,” the artist once declared. “On the contrary, it helps to add depth through its planes, it also gives movement through its shapes. Is there anything more splendid or thrilling than that which is frequently found in summer, I mean the blue sky with beautiful clouds, white and drifting. What movement, what allure they have! It has the effect of a wave at sea; it exalts you and carries you along” (quoted by A. Tavernier, L’Atelier de Sisley; reproduced in R. Shone, Sisley, London, 1992, p. 220).

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