This painting will be included in the new edition of the catalogue raisonné of Alfred Sisley by François Daulte now being prepared at Galerie Brame & Lorenceau by the Comité Alfred Sisley.
In 1889 Sisley settled in Moret-sur-Loing, a small village about twenty-five miles south east of Paris, where he had stayed and painted many times in the early 1880s. The beauty of this region of France is well-chronicled: "It is essentially an Impressionist place with the gentle light of the Ile-de-France, the soft colours 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 Saint-Mammès, old stone houses, churches and bridges" (V.Couldrey, Alfred Sisley: The English Impressionist, Exeter, 1992, p.68).
Sisley was so taken with the town that he wrote to his friend Monet: "Moret is just two hours 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?" (Letter dated 31 August 1881, see M. Stevens, Alfred Sisley, London, 1992, p. 184).
To paint the present work, Sisley set up his easel looking across the river and the bridge to the south face of the village church, the Eglise de Notre-Dame. The Moulin Provencher is visible to the left, and the Porte des Bourguignons can be seen to the right. "Ever since his days at Argenteuil and Villeneuve-la-Garenne, not forgetting the
few months he spent at Hampton Court, the bridge as a motif had been a constant preoccupation for Sisley...He took a particular interest in the bridge at Moret-sur-Loing, a dominant architectural feature that links the historic town centre with the road to Saint-Mammès... Crossing the Loing on a succession of arches, the bridge was interrupted in the centre by the town of watermills; its western end led up to the Porte de Bourgogne, which was the entrance to the town itself" (S. Patin, Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., London, 1992, p. 224).