The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne

Artist: Alfred Sisley (British, Paris 1839–1899 Moret-sur-Loing)

Date: 1872

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 19 1/2 x 25 3/4 in. (49.5 x 65.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson Jr., 1964

Accession Number: 64.287

Description

Recently built, state-of-the-art bridges—emblematic of modernity—recur as motifs in Sisley’s paintings of the 1870s and early 1880s. The cast-iron and stone suspension bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, constructed in 1844 to connect the village with the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, can be seen from a distance in a work of spring 1872 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.). Shortly thereafter, Sisley executed this close-up, dramatically angled view, showing holidaymakers on the river and along the shore. Flat strokes of high-keyed color—notably in the reflections on the water’s surface—capture the fleeting effect of bright summer sunshine.

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