Alfred Sisley – Paris 1839-1899 Moret (ARCHIVED)

Alfred Sisley - The Hills of la Bouille Near Rouen and the Meadows of Sahurs.jpg
Alfred Sisley - The Hills of la Bouille Near Rouen and the Meadows of Sahurs.jpg

Alfred Sisley – Paris 1839-1899 Moret (ARCHIVED)

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Les Coteaux de la Bouille, près de Rouen, et la prairie de Sahurs 1894

Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 36¼ inches (65 x 92 cm)

Signed and dated 1894

Towards the end of his life, Sisley painted this stretch of the river Bouille, near Rouen, at least five times (two versions are in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen), each one from a different angle. Maybe, like Monet in his series of haystacks and cathedrals, Sisley was experimenting with the laws of perception and the ways in which a single place or object is modified according to our standpoint or the time of day. A low, strongly horizontal landscape is punctuated only by some willows, poplars and one tall pollarded elm. Beyond the trees runs the unseen river. With a few figures and the suggestion of a curving pathway he conveys the deep spatial recession of the field of ripening corn. Above, the light summer clouds are rendered with the unmistakable free calligraphy of his brush. In Sisley’s middle and late periods the sky plays an increasingly important role. “The sky is not simply a background;” he wrote, “its planes give depth (for the sky has planes as well as the solid ground), and the shapes of clouds give movements to a picture. What is more beautiful than the summer sky, with its wispy clouds idly floating across the blue? What movement and grace!”

This painting appeared in the Alfred Sisley atelier sale in 1899 and was illustrated in the catalogue. It was also included in the retrospective exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in 1907.

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