In November of 1889, Sisley moved to Moret-sur-Loing, where he lived until his death in 1899. The beauty of this region 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 St-Mamms, old stone houses, churches and bridges" (V. Couldrey, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, Exeter, 1992, p. 68).
So enchanted was Sisley by the town of Moret that he wrote to his friend Monet on August 31, 1881:
"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).
Like Monet, Sisley would paint the same landscape in a sequence, capturing the changing light conditions at different times of the day and year. In the present work the artist relishes the opportunity to describe the reflections of the trees and houses shimmering across the surface of the water in the clear mid-day light. As ever, the composition is perfectly harmonious, with the expansive sky given prominence, filling half of the canvas and lending the work a bright, airy effect.
As Sisley himself explained:
"I am for diversity of techniques in the same picture. Objects must be rendered so as to indicate their individual textures; in addition, and above all, they must be enveloped in light, as they are in nature" (R. Cogniat, Sisley, Naefels, 1978, p. 85).