Henri Le Sidaner
Jets d'eau sur le ciel, 1937
oil on canvas
signed Le Sidaner (lower left)
37 ¼ x 23 inches.
Louis Le Sidaner, Paris
Galerie Lorenceau, Paris
Galleries Maurice Sternberg, Chicago
Acquired directly from the above, by July 1969
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, February - March, 1939, no. 9
Paris, Musee Galliera, Retrospective Henri Le Sidaner, April 1948, no. 49
Paris, Galerie Lorenceau, La Poesie de l'eau, March 1950, no. 5
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner: L'Oeuvre Peint et Grave, Paris, 1989, no. 776, p. 282, illus.
Property from the Miriam B. Swanson Trust, Chicago, Illinois
The twilit gardens and hushed city scenes of Henri Le Sidaner’s artworks conjure a seductive, mysterious world. Throughout his career, Le Sidaner remained chiefly concerned with capturing atmospheric light and favored a subdued use of color, preferring nuanced greys and opals applied with uneven, dappled brushstrokes. Le Sidaner developed his distinctive lexicon during the 1890s, under the influence of Symbolism. On a formal level, he found a suitably harmonious, all-over treatment for his compositions in Impressionism. This dual aspect of his art was touched on by the critic, and his supporter, Camille Mauclair who wrote: "born out of Impressionism, [Le Sidaner] is as much the son of Verlaine than of the snowscenes of Monet" (C. Mauclair, Henri Le Sidaner, Paris, 1928, p. 12).
Born in 1862 in Mauritius, to Breton parents, in 1872 Le Sidaner’s family settled in Dunkirk, France. In 1882 he left for Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts under Alexandre Cabanel. However, Le Sidaner shortly after left because of artistic differences. He relocated to the Ètaples artist colony, which had a tradition of en plain air painting established by Charles-François Daubigny and of the local Deauville painter Eugène Boudin, a leading Post-Impressionist. In the late nineteenth-century numerous artists were drawn by the sand dunes, the atmospheric light and the remnants of an older France.
Keen to buy a rural home where he could create a garden and work in reflective solitude, Le Sidaner purchased a property in 1904 at Gerberoy in the Picardy countryside. However, owing to the bitterly cold winters in Gerberoy, Le Sidaner wintered in Versailles beginning in 1914, the locale of Jets d'eau sur le ciel. Prosaically translated as “jets of water against the sky,” this painting reveals the artist’s evolution later in his career to choose brighter and clearer colors. The subtly worked contrasts and painterly application of pigment likewise show his return to the origins of Impressionism. The dancing water streams seem to celebrate the serenity and freedom of a mature artist who intimately understands how to achieve exquisite harmony within his paintings. This lyrical example was included in Galerie Lorenceau’s 1950 exhibition, La Poésie de l'eau, as well as in exhibitions at Galerie Charpentier and the Musée Galliéra’s 1948 retrospective of the artist.
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