ALFRED SISLEY (1839-1899)
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
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)
ExhibitionTokyo, 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
LiteratureO. 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
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.
Jean-Baptiste-Camile Corot, “Moret sur Loing, le pont et l’eglise,” 1822, Private Collection
Claude Monet, “Rouen Cathedral, West Façade,” 1894, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Alfred Sisley, “Le Pont de Moret, effet d’orage,” 1887, Musée Malraux, La Havre
A postcard of Moret sur Loing, l’eglise Norte-Dame
A postcard of Moret sur Loing, La rue de l’Eglise
Alfred Sisley, “The Church in the Evening Sun,” 1894, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France
Eglise Notre Dame de Moret-sur-Loing, Seine et Marne
- 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
“Effet de Neige à Louveciennes” (1874) sold for $9,064,733.
- Smaller painting with a muted color palette, but beautiful shadows
- Rare winter scene
- Set the record price for Sisley at auction in 2017
“Le loing à Moret” (1883) sold for $4,869,000.
- Significantly smaller than our piece
- Less highly finished with no figures
- Beautiful light and color palette
“Moret-sur-Loing” (1891) for $4,685,031.
- 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
“Le loing à Moret, en été” (1891) sold for $5,746,135.
- Another large canvas from a few years earlier
- Like our painting, it includes a figure, which increases the value