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Bridge At Villeneuve-La-Garenne Analysis Essay

Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Sisley. 1872

[Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1872–73; bought from the artist on August 24, 1872, stock no. L.1877 for Fr 200; sold on April 15, 1873 for Fr 360 to Faure]; Jean-Baptiste Faure, Paris (1873–d. 1915; ca. 1910–14, deposited with Durand-Ruel, Paris, date book no. L.11941); his daughter-in-law Madame Louis Maurice Faure, Paris (1915–19; sold in 1919 to Georges Petit and Durand-Ruel); [Georges Petit and Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, from 1919]; Alfred Bergaud, Paris (until 1920; his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, March 1–2, 1920, no. 56, for Fr 37,200 to Gérard Frères); [Gérard Frères, Paris, from 1920]; Fernand Bouisson, Paris (by 1930); [Sam Salz, New York]; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson Jr., New York (by 1957–64)

Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Exposition d'œuvres de Alfred Sisley," May 14–June 7, 1917, no. 54 (as "Village de la Garenne, environs de Paris").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 130 (as "The Bridge at Argenteuil," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 6–September 4, 1960, no. 115 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–August 20, 1961, no. 87 (as "The Bridge at Argenteuil," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

New York. Paul Rosenberg & Co. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Alfred Sisley, 1839–1899," October 30–November 25, 1961, no. 3 (as "Pont de Villeneuve-la-Garenne," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 3–September 6, 1962, no. 87 (as "The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 12–September 2, 1963, no. 74 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr.).

Paris. Grand Palais. "Centenaire de l'impressionnisme," September 21–November 24, 1974, no. 41.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, no. 41.

Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "From Delacroix to Matisse," March 15–May 10, 1988, no. 32.

Moscow. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. "From Delacroix to Matisse," June 10–July 30, 1988, no. 32.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Alfred Sisley," July 3–October 18, 1992, no. 14.

Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Sisley," October 28, 1992–January 31, 1993, no. 14.

Baltimore. Walters Art Gallery. "Sisley: Master Impressionist," March 14–June 13, 1993, no. 14.

Washington. Phillips Collection. "Impressionists on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir's 'Luncheon of the Boating Party'," September 21, 1996–February 9, 1997, unnumbered cat.

Ferrara. Palazzo dei Diamanti. "Alfred Sisley: Poeta dell'impressionismo," February 17–May 19, 2002, no. 6.

Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Alfred Sisley: Poeta del Impresionismo," June 8–September 15, 2002, no. 7.

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. "Alfred Sisley: Poète de l'impressionnisme," October 10, 2002–January 6, 2003, no. 9.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 81.

Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal. "Alfred Sisley," September 11, 2011–January 29, 2012, unnumbered cat. (ill. on p. 117).

Paris. Musée du Luxembourg. "Paul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme," October 9, 2014–February 8, 2015, no. 96.

London. National Gallery. "Inventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market," March 4–May 31, 2015, no. 89.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting," June 24–September 13, 2015, no. 89.

Greenwich, Conn. Bruce Museum. "Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): Impressionist Master," January 21–May 21, 2017, unnumbered cat. (ill. p. 73).

"La curiosité . . .la vente Bergaud." Bulletin de la vie artistique (March 15, 1920), p. 227, ill.

Gaston Poulain. "De Courbet à Chagall chez M. et Mme Fernand Bouisson." La Renaissance de l'art français 13 (December 1930), pp. 343–46, ill.

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, p. 274, ill., erroneously dates it about 1873.

François Daulte. Alfred Sisley: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Lausanne, 1959, p. 24, no. 37, ill. opp. p. 16, fig. 37.

Theodore Rousseau in "Ninety-fifth Annual Report of the Trustees, for the Fiscal Year 1964–1965." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 (October 1965), pp. 55–56, ill.

Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 119–20, ill.

Anthea Callen. "Jean-Baptiste Faure, 1830–1914: A Study of a Patron and Collector of the Impressionists and their Contemporaries." Master's thesis, University of Leicester, 1971, p. 416, no. 568.

Charles S. Moffett inImpressionism: A Centenary Exhibition. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1974, pp. 201–4, no. 41, ill. (color, overall and detail) [French ed., "Centenaire de l'impressionnisme", Paris, 1974], remarks that in this painting "the clear progression into space conflicts with the flattening effect of the clear bright sky".

Anthony M. Clark inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 81, ill.

Raymond Cogniat. The Century of the Impressionists. New York, 1978, p. 69, ill. color, calls it "The Bridge at Argenteuil".

Albert Kostenevich. Western European Painting in the Hermitage: 19th–20th Centuries. Leningrad [St. Petersburg], 1987, p. 292, under no. 81, ill., states that Sisley painted three landscapes at Villeneuve-la-Garenne in the summer of 1872, and that the two houses depicted at the right edge of this work also appear on the left-hand part of the version in the Hermitage (Daulte 1959, no. 40).

Robert L. Herbert. Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society. New Haven, 1988, pp. 226–27, 229, 243, colorpls. 227–28 (overall and detail).

Anne Distel. Impressionism: The First Collectors. New York, 1990, pp. 87, 89.

John Leighton. "Alfred Sisley: 'Adroit, delicate, but . . .'?" Apollo 136 (November 1992), pp. 335–36.

Albert Kostenevich inMorozov and Shchukin—The Russian Collectors: Monet to Picasso. Ed. Georg W. Költzsch. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang Essen. Cologne, 1993, p. 377.

Joel Isaacson inImpressionists in Winter: Effets de neige. Exh. cat., Phillips Collection. Washington, 1998, p. 70, fig. 10.

Dominique Brachlianoff inAlfred Sisley: Poète de l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. Paris, 2002, pp. 113, 364.

Frances Fowle inAlfred Sisley: Poète de l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. Paris, 2002, pp. 122, 124, 367, no. 9, ill. p. 123 and on cover (color detail).

Richard R. Brettell and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. Ed. Sara Campbell. Vol. 1, New Haven, 2006, p. 290, fig. 78a.

Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 116–17, 257–58, no. 81, ill. (overall and detail, color and black and white).

Kathryn Calley Galitz inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 132, 306–7, no. 121, ill. (color and black and white).

John Zarobell inInventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. London, 2015, p. 88, fig. 59 (color) [French ed., "Paul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme," Paris, 2014, fig. 44 (color)].

Christopher Riopelle inInventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. London, 2015, p. 270, no. 89, ill. (color) [French ed., "Paul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme," Paris, 2014, p. 189, no. 96, ill. (color)], notes that Durand-Ruel must have thought highly of it since he had it engraved to be included in an unrealized album of prints after the most beautiful paintings in the gallery's stock.

Footbridge at Argenteuil (1872)

Artwork description & Analysis: Footbridge at Argenteuil (1872) is a landscape painting that captures modern life at the end of the nineteenth century. The subject matter is not typical of Sisley's oeuvre, yet the painting is stylistically representative of his work. Footbridge at Argenteuil is inspired by contemporary Japanese prints, in which, as here, the picture plane is the main focus of the composition. This is evident in the bridge, which dominates the canvas and flattens out the composition through the use of diagonal lines which evoke sharp, fast movement and thereby mimic the speed of modern day life. Additionally, the foreground is pushed forward and the canvas is cropped, which creates a similar sense of spontaneity of a photograph. The harmonious balance of muted dark and light colors allows the eye to move quickly across the canvas, giving the illusion of movement.

Footbridge at Argenteuil is similar to Gustave Caillebotte's Pont de l'Europe, 1876. Although it is unknown if Caillebotte was aware of Sisley's painting, the two artists chose similar subject matter and viewpoints to depict the landscape. The two works differ in the way the artists chose to capture contemporary life. Caillebotte's painting focuses on the figures, celebrating modernity through the fashion of the period. In comparison, Sisley's painting focuses on the architecture, only showing a vague interest in the people strolling along the bridge. Sisley celebrates modernity, but through the detailed innovative materials of the bridge.

Although there is a lack of obvious narrative, this painting is particularly informative about the context of the time. Footbridge at Argenteuil depicts the newly emerging middle class vacationing in the suburbs outside of Paris. This new access to leisure became more common with the development of industry and the newly constructed railroad along the Seine River. Impressionist artists began capturing this new subject matter, creating genres that were distinct from the limitations of the Academy.

Oil on canvas - Musée d'Orsay

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