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

Autour de la forêt, une clairière

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Autour de la forêt, une clairière
signed and dated 'Sisley 95' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21½ x 25¾ in. (54.6 x 65.4cm.)
Painted in the summer of 1895
F. Stumpf, Paris; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 7 May 1906, lot 75.
Léon Orosdi, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 25 May 1923, lot 68. René Keller, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Justin K. Thannhauser, New York.
Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, Los Angeles.
Mr and Mrs Marco F. Hellman, San Francisco (1956).
Bequeathed by the above to The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 1974.
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 841 (illustrated).
San Francisco, Museum of Art, Modern Masters in West Coast Collections, October 1960.
Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art, Alfred Sisley Retrospective, March-April 1985, p. 172, no. 50 (illustrated in colour); this exhibition later travelled to Fukuoka, Art Museum, April-May 1985, and Nara, Prefectural Museum, May-June 1985.
Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, European Masterworks from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, April-June 1992, no. 62 (illustrated in colour); this exhibition later travelled to Fukuoka, Art Museum, July 1992; Osaka, Municipal Museum of Art, Aug.-Sept. 1992; Yokohama, Sogo Museum of Art, Sept.-Oct. 1992; Canberra, Australian National Gallery, Nov. 1992-Jan. 1993; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Feb.-May 1993, and Auckland, City Art Gallery, June-Aug. 1993.

Lot Essay

In 1889, Sisley settled in Moret-sur-Loing, a small village about twenty-five miles south-east of Paris where he had stayed and painted many times in the early 1880s. The beauty of this region of France is well-chronicled:

It is essentially an Impressionist place with the gentle light of
the Ile-de-France, the soft colors and the constantly changing skies of Northern France. There are green woods and pastures, curving tree-lined banks of rivers, canals and narrow streams, wide stretches of river where the Loing joins the Seine at Saint-Mammès, old stone houses, churches and bridges. (V. Couldrey, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, Exeter, 1992, p. 68.)

Sisley lived at Moret until his death in 1899, rarely travelling from the surrounding area. So enchanted was the artist by the town that on 31 August 1881 he wrote to his friend Monet,

Moret is just two hours' journey from Paris, and has plenty of places to let at six hundred to a thousand francs. There is a market once a week, a pretty church, and beautiful scenery round about. If you were thinking of moving, why not come and see? (quoted in M. Stevens, Alfred Sisley, London, 1992, p. 184).

The present work is one of at least four paintings which Sisley made in 1895 depicting the wooded fields around Moret. In this version he has included for anecdotal effect a woman posed with her rake on a path, and another figure with a horse-drawn cart to the right. The bright palette and dappled brushwork of the painting - particularly evident in the large flowering tree in the foreground - are characteristic of Sisley's late work; here, they are used to create the convincing impression of a late-summer day, with a brilliant sky and a hot sun high overhead.

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