The Comité Alfred Sisley will include this painting in the new edition of the Alfred Sisley catalogue raisonné by François Daulte, currently being prepared at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau.
Alfred Sisley painted Pont de l'Orvanne around 1888. This picture appears to be a rare early example of a view of the Orvanne, a small tributary to the Moret. This was a tributary which joined the Seine near Morey-sur-Loing, where Sisley spent a great deal of his life and created some of his most celebrated landscapes.
Sisley had first visited Moret-sur-Loing in 1879 when he was already living nearby, on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau. He moved to Moret a few years later; although he spent a short period living in Les Sablons, this area would remain his home for the rest of his life. Here, Sisley was further away from the hustle and bustle of Paris, which had doubtless made its mark in his former homes in the outskirts of the city in places such as Louveciennes and Marly-le-Roi. His move to the countryside echoed that of his friend and contemporary, Claude Monet, who had recently left Argenteuil for the relative seclusion of Vétheuil (see lot XX). While Moret was doubtless tranquil in comparison to the French capital and its surrounding area, it was nonetheless busy in comparison to Vétheuil. It was an inland port and was near a canal, the Loing, the Seine and indeed the Orvanne.
In Pont de l'Orvanne, Sisley has shown the bridge of the title gently bathed in the pink light of either the rising or setting sun; this light also sets some of the foliage aglow, for instance the wood of the tree shown in the upper right. Sisley has selected a composition that combines the rhythmic vertical punctuation of the trees, including those which appear to frame the image on the right, with the looping horizontal form of the bridge and the flickering streak of blue of the water itself. Dominant above all this is the sky, captured with Sisley's customary deftness. Looking at the fleeting effects that the artist has managed to capture in Pont de l'Orvanne, it is unsurprising to find that he was the object of much praise from his fellow artists, for instance Henri Matisse, who perfectly expressed the charm of Sisley's paintings by stating: 'A Cézanne is a moment of the artist while a Sisley is a moment of nature' (Matisse, quoted in C. Lloyd, 'Alfred Sisley and the Purity of Vision', in M. Stevens (ed.), Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., New Haven & London, 1992, p. 5).