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The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne
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Arty Fact

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The clock was ticking for the bridge at Villeneuve-la-garenne in 1872.

By the end of the decade, the authorities were already talking about making way for a newer bridge. When Sisley finished this painting, the bridge was already 30 years old, which isn’t too old if you ask me. It had even survived the siege of Paris, as did Sisley. The English painter fled to London as soon as he got word of the advancing Prussian army. I know how this makes him look. But, he did have a family to protect. Sure, it was illegitimate, but it was still a family. Sisley married his girlfriend and the mother of his children, Eugenie Lesouezec, only in 1897. Thirty years together without a legally binding contract. That, sir, is love.

Several painters of the Impressionist movement joined the National Guard. Manet and Degas enlisted in the National Guard, so did Rodin, who was pulled out for his near-sightedness, and Bazille who fought and died. Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley, were made to abandon their houses and run for London. Paris was burning.When Sisley returned to Paris in 1871, he moved back to Louveciennes, to the west of the city. Sisley continued visiting his friends and making trips to Villeneuve-la-Garenne, a commune in the North central part of Paris. They would paint the bridge, the holiday makers, the Seine, the sunshine. It sounds like a very relaxing Thursday afternoon to me.

The people of Paris were only beginning to recover. This isn’t Paris at its happiest. I don’t expect Sisley to be particularly happy at the time, either. He had just been shoved into poverty, after his father’s business crashed in 1870. But, he was still painting, that makes him happier than most people. Sisley is often criticized for choosing “unspectacular landscapes”. But, that’s all he wanted to paint.

Sisley composed his paintings with an eye on the road, always leading beyond. He explained, “By the elimination of superfluous detail, the spectator should be led along the road that the artist indicates to him, and from the first be made to notice what the artist has felt.” 

You can visit the painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art any afternoon of the week.

Sources

Sources

  1. “The Bridge at Villeneuve-La-Garenne.” metmuseum.org, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437680.
  2. "Biography of Alfred Sisley." Alfred Sisley - The Complete Works - Biography. Accessed August 16, 2019. https://www.alfredsisley.org/biography.html.
  3. "French Artists during the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune (1870)." Books & Boots. November 29, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://astrofella.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/french-artists-during-the-fr....
  4. "The Franco-Prussian War and Its Aftermath in French Art." Dahesh Museum of Art. Accessed August 19, 2019. http://www.daheshmuseum.org/spotlight-on-november-december-2017/#.XVf8ee....
  5. "The Impressionists in Marly-le-Roi and Louveciennes." Where the Artist Stood Marly and Louveciennes Artists. Accessed August 19, 2019. http://www.wheretheartiststood.co.uk/marlyandlouveciennes.html.
  6. "Alfred Sisley." Artnet. Accessed August 19, 2019. http://www.artnet.com/artists/alfred-sisley/.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne

The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne is an 1872 painting by Alfred Sisley, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Provenance

It was bought from the artist on 24 August 1872 by Durand-Ruel, who sold it on Jean-Baptiste Faure on 15 April 1873. It passed to his son Louis Maurice's wife, who sold it to Georges Petit and Durand-Ruel in 1919. It passed through various art dealers before being acquired by Fernand Bouisson sometime before 1930. It was then sold in New York and had been acquired by 1957 by Henry Ittleson Junior and his wife, who donated it to its present owner in 1964.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne.