In 1889 Alfred Sisley left Veneux to settle in Moret-sur-Loing, where he remained until his death in 1899. Moret-sur-Loing was a small village just twenty miles south-east of Paris that he had visited several times during the 1880s. The village and its surroundings were "essentially an Impressionist place with the gentle light of the Ile de France...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-Mamms" (V. Couldry, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, London, 1992, p. 68).
It was the river Loing itself that provided the greatest source of inspiration for Sisley. He painted a number of landscapes from differed vantage points along the banks of the river during this ten year period. As Richard Stone observed, "[Sisley] was indefatigable in his exploration of the Loing...Paintings of the Canal de Loing, with two paths on either side, gave expression to his love of clustered lines of perspective running to a low horizon; towering poplars along its banks give those marked vertical divisions that make for strong surface pattern, offsetting the diagonals that take us gently into the distance" (R. Shone, Sisely, London, 1992, p. 144).
According to Christopher Lloyd, "these paintings show him at the height of his powers...All the experiences of the previous decades was blended in these canvases which amount to the summation of his output: the paint is richly applied with the impasto more pronounced than in previous works, the brushwork more insistently rhythmical, the execution more rapid, and the colors more vibrant" (C. Lloyd, "Alfred Sisley and the Purity of Vision," Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 25).
Un tornant du Loing, t was painted during this important period of Sisley's oeuvre. Positioned on a bank overlooking a bend in the river, Sisley captures the subtle effects of the light as it plays across the moving water and against the landscape, softening some of the contoures of the foliage while throwing others into sharp relief. Sisley was fascinated with the life along the river, and in Un tornant du Loing, t he portrays two figures walking along a path and the hut of gypsies who camped along the riverbank.