A photo-certificate from Olivier Daulte dated Lausanne, 12 March 1999 accompanies this pastel, which will be included in the forthcoming new edition of the Sisley catalogue raisonn established by Franois Daulte.
At the end of the 19th century, the pastel medium was accorded increasing importance by artists, particularly by the French Impressionists and Symbolists, who were drawn to the medium for the effects of light and color which could be achieved with it. Yet each artist appropriated the medium to a variety of ends: Degas, whose pastels are as equally sought-after than his oil paintings, pioneered a progressive, evanescent manner that perfectly captured the sensuality of his dancers and bathers. Manet looked back to the 18th century pastel tradition, with its elegant preciousness, for his female portraits, while Redon created mysterious, evocative visions of fantasy. Sisley seems to have preferred using pastel to render Realist scenes of life around him, in which figures and animals are accorded more prominence than in the oils. They also differ from his paintings in their hard, defined line and broad areas of color. Still, they retain their Impressionist character in fleeting luminosity and wide vistas of saturated color.
Most of Sisley's late pastels, although undated, were created between 1892 and 1897-98. In 1897, Sisley had given up painting to look after his beloved wife Eugnie, whose death in October 1898 was a cruel blow to the artist, whose own health was in decline. It is possible that the late pastels provided short artistic respites for Sisley, who could render them quickly and easily outdoors. The majority, as with the present work, are views from across the river Loing towards St.-Mamms in the Champagne region where Sisley resided. At least eight depict geese and an attendant goose-girl. Although the artist, from his earliest days, had no interest in depicting agricultural life, and he rarely depicted people except from an extreme distance, he now enjoyed showing the people of the district going about their daily routines, and making them the focus of his landscapes.