Le Sidaner developed his distinctive lexicon during the 1890s, under the influence of Symbolism. The poignant fin-de-siècle mood of early Belgin Symbolists Maurice Maeterlinck, Emile Verhaeren, and Fernand Khnopff set the tone of his oeuvre. Formally, he found an all-over, suitably harmonious treatment for his compositions in Neo-Impressionism. The gentle poetry of the present work was Le Sidaner's artistic inheritence from his Symbolist-inspired early years; while the highly-keyed palette, subtle contrasts and painterly application of pigment owed its debt to Impressionism. This dual aspect of his art was touched on by the critic, and his supporter, Camille Mauclair who wrote, "Born out of Impressionism, [Le Sidaner] is as much the son of Verlaine than of the snow scenes of Monet" (op. cit., p. 12).
Writings on Le Sidaner tend to focus on the carefully observed silence in his work, and his contemporary Paul Signac even went so far as to characterize the artist's entire career as the progression towards the elimination of human figures: "His oeuvre displays a taste for tender, soft and silent atmospheres. Gradually, he even went so far as to eliminate all human presence from his pictures, as if he feared that the slightest human form might disturb their muffled silence" (quoted in Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 31). Indeed, in the present scene, executed in Versailles, where Le Sidaner moved in 1903, swans alone inhabit the iydllic fountain.
In 1919, two years after Les reflets, fenêtres du palais was executed, Louis Vauxcelles, the critic who had earlier coined the term "Les Fauves" for the violently colorful style adopted by Andre Derain, Henri Matisse and Maurice de Vlaminck, singled out Le Sidaner's recent work for special praise: "Mr. Le Sidaner has for several years been moving [in] a direction which does him credit. He has been strengthening his evanescent impressionism with more resounding accents, and his brushstrokes have acquired ample vigour without sacrificing any of the charm to which he owes his great success" (ibid., p. 37).
(fig. 1) The artist in Versailles, circa 1934.