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ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)

 
ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. ALFRED SISLEY - L'Église de Moret, le Soir - oil canvas - 31 1/4 x 39 1/2 in.
L'Église de Moret, le Soir189431 1/4 x 39 1/2 in.(81.28 x 100.33 cm) oil canvas
Provenance
Sisley Estate
Sale: Vente de l'Atelier Sisley, Galeries Georges Petit Paris, May 1, 1899, lot 13
George Viau, Paris
Sale: Hôtel Drouot Paris, February 20, 1908, lot 37
Pearson Collection, Paris (acquired at the above sale)
Sale: Vente Pearson, Galerie Paul Cassirer Berlin, October 18, 1927, lot 65
Private Collection
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 23, 1928, lot 98
Aubert Collection, Paris (purchased at the above sale; possibly Marcel Aubert)
Private Collection Edward Nahem Gallery
S
...More...teven Bedowitz, Boca Raton, Florida (acquired in 1989)
Private Collection, New York
Larry Lacerte, Dallas (acquired in 1991)
Private Collection (acquired 1996)
Exhibition
Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art; Kagawa, Takamatsu Municipal Museum of Art; Hiroshima, Museum of Art and Wakayama, Departmental Museum of Modern Art, Exposition Alfred Sisley, 2000, no. 53, illustrated in color pp. 138-139
Literature
O. Reuterswaerd, 'Sisley’s Cathedrals, A Study of the Church at Moret' in Gazette des Beaux Arts, March 1952, fig. 1, illustrated p. 194
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 835, illustrated in black and white
F. Daulte, Sisley. Les Saisons, Paris, 1992, no. 41, illustrated in color p. 73
R. Shone, Sisley, New York, 1992, pl. 134, illustrated in color p. 170 (mentioned pp. 164-165)
Brame, S., Sisley, A., Lorenceau, F., & Daulte, O. (2021). Alfred Sisley: Catalogue critique des peintures et des pastels. P. 347 ill. 347, 501
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“I always start a painting with the sky.” – Alfred Sisley

History

Between Île-de-France and Burgundy and on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest lies the medieval village of Moret-sur-Loing, established in the 12th century. When Alfred Sisley described its character to Monet in a letter dated 31 August 1881 as “a chocolate-box landscape…” he meant it as a memento of enticement; that its keep, the ramparts, the church, the fortified gates, and the ornate facades nestled along the river were, for a painter, a setting of unmatched charm. An ancient church, always the most striking townscape feature along the Seine Valley, would be a presence in Sisley’s townscape views as it was for Corot, and for Monet at Vétheuil. But unlike Monet whose thirty views of Rouen Cathedral were executed so he could trace the play of light and shadow across the cathedral façade and capture the ephemeral nature of moment-to-moment changes of light and atmosphere, Sisley set out to affirm the permanent nature of the church of Notre-Dame at Moret-sur-Loing.  Monet’s sole concern was air and light, and Sisley’s appears to be an homage keepsake. The painting exudes respect for the original architects and builders of a structure so impregnable and resolute, it stood then as it did in those medieval times, and which for us, stands today, as it will, for time immemorial.

Nevertheless, Sisley strived to show the changing appearance of the motif through a series of atmospheric changes. He gave the works titles such as “In Sunshine”, “Under Frost”, and “In Rain” and exhibited them as a group at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars in 1894, factors that suggest he thought of them as serial interpretations. Nevertheless, unlike Monet’s work, l’église de Moret, le Soir reveals that Sisley chose to display the motif within a spatial context that accentuates its compositional attributes — the plunging perspective of the narrow street at left, the strong diagonal recession of the building lines as a counterbalance to the right, and the imposing weight of the stony building above the line of sight.

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    Alfred Sisley
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    Jean-Baptiste-Camile Corot, “Moret sur Loing, le pont et l’eglise,” 1822, Private Collection
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    Claude Monet, “Rouen Cathedral, West Façade,” 1894, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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    Alfred Sisley, “Le Pont de Moret, effet d’orage,” 1887, Musée Malraux, La Havre
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    A postcard of Moret sur Loing, l’eglise Norte-Dame
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    A postcard of Moret sur Loing, La rue de l’Eglise
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    Alfred Sisley, “The Church in the Evening Sun,” 1894, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France
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    Eglise Notre Dame de Moret-sur-Loing, Seine et Marne
“Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love.” – Alfred Sisley

MARKET INSIGHTS

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  • The record price for a Sisley painting at auction is over $9M, set in 2017 by a winter landscape significantly smaller than L’église de Moret, le Soir
  • There are only 884 oil paintings by Sisley in existence, and many are in permanent museum collections, leaving few excellent large-scale examples that could become available for private sale
  • L’église de Moret, le Soir is exceptionally large relative to other Sisley works, and has belonged to the same private collection since 1996, adding to its value
  • It is signed in the lower right “Sisley 94” and documented in the Sisley catalogue raisonné (F. Daulte, Lausanne, 1959, no. 835, illustrated in black and white)
  • Depicts the Church of Notre Dame at Moret, an important subject that Sisley revisited nearly a dozen times since settling in Moret in 1889

Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction

Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 25 3/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 1 March 2017.

“Effet de Neige à Louveciennes” (1874) sold for $9,064,733.

Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 25 3/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 1 March 2017.
  • Smaller painting with a muted color palette, but beautiful shadows
  • Rare winter scene
  • Set the record price for Sisley at auction in 2017
Oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 25 3/4 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 4 November 2014.

“Le loing à Moret” (1883) sold for $4,869,000.

Oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 25 3/4 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 4 November 2014.
  • Significantly smaller than our piece
  • Less highly finished with no figures
  • Beautiful light and color palette
Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 36 1/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 5 February 2008.

“Moret-sur-Loing” (1891) for $4,685,031.

Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 36 1/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 5 February 2008.
  • Large Sisley paintings like this one and ours are rare and more valuable
  • Sold eight years ago for over $4.6M, and the market has grown
Oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 36 5/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 5 February 2007.

“Le loing à Moret, en été” (1891) sold for $5,746,135.

Oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 36 5/8 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 5 February 2007.
  • Another large canvas from a few years earlier
  • Like our painting, it includes a figure, which increases the value

Paintings in Museum Collections

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen

“The Church at Moret in the Morning Sun” (1893), oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in.

Kunst Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland

“The Church in the Morning Sun” (1893), oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 33 1/4 in.

The Detroit Institute of Arts

“The Church at Moret after the Rain” (1894), oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 3/4 in.

The Petit Palais, Paris

“The Church at Moret (Evening)” (1894), oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 32 1/4 in.
“I like all those painters who loved and had a strong feeling for nature.” – Alfred Sisley

Image Gallery

Sisley and Monet Cathedral Paintings

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