richard green

Henri Le Sidaner

  • Henri Le Sidaner - Sur les toits, Gerberoy
    Henri Le Sidaner Sur les toits, Gerberoy Full details

    SP 5325

     

    HENRI LE SIDANER

    Port-Louis 1862 - 1939 Versailles

     

    Sur les toits, Gerberoy

    Signed lower left: Le Sidaner Oil on canvas: 32 x 39 ½ in / 81.3 x 100.3 cm

    Framed size: 41 ½ x 49 x 4 ½ in / 105.4 x 124.5 x 11.4 cm

    Painted in 1927

     

    Provenance:

    Private collection, USA

    Richard Green, London, 1996

    Private collection, UK

    Literature:

    Y Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, l’oeuvre peint et gravé, Milan 1989, p.231, no.627, illus. in colour

     

    Exhibited:

    Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Le Sidaner, November 1927, no.6.

     

     

    In 1901 Henri Le Sidaner went to Gerberoy, about six miles north-west of Beauvais in Picardy, in search of a house around which he could develop a garden. The area had been recommended to him by Auguste Rodin. Le Sidaner was enchanted by the ‘old sleepy town, steeped in history and gentle nostalgia’[1], where William the Conqueror had fought his unruly son Robert Curthose and which had been besieged in the Hundred Years’ War and the sixteenth century Wars of Religion. Le Sidaner rented a small cottage which in 1910 he bought and began to enlarge, adding a garden of terraces, Italianate balustrades and pavilions, overlooking half-timbered houses, cobbled streets and the rolling countryside beyond. The house was bitterly cold and Le Sidaner spent only one winter there, retreating otherwise to the comforts of Versailles, the South of France or elegant European cities such as Venice and London. In the summers Gerberoy was his paradise and the inspiration for many paintings depicting the soft grey, rambling lanes of the town and the nooks of his garden illuminated with oblique light. It became as important to him as Giverny to Monet or the garden at Marquayrol to Henri Martin.

     

    Sur les toits is one of a group of paintings that explores different aspects, interior and exterior, of Le Sidaner’s little kingdom at Gerberoy, which was shown at his dealer Galerie Georges Petit in 1927[2]. It depicts the belvedere that Le Sidaner constructed overlooking the town, with the ancient houses of the rue du Vieux-Château below[3]. The warm orange roof tiles glow in the afternoon sun. Beyond, looking north-east, the rolling Beauvaisis countryside partakes of this golden haze. Le Sidaner, as so often, uses an architectural feature – here the balustrade – both to demarcate his private terrain and to embrace the wider landscape. His house and garden is enfolded within the community of Gerberoy, itself a jigsaw of mellow buildings softened by vegetation. Although there are no people within the painting, the sense of a harmonious and close-knit community is implied by the well-kept houses and glimpses of luxuriant gardens. Le Sidaner constructs the composition through the balance of opposites, harmony and counterpoint: the warm colours of the roofs, harvest landscape and sunlight trees, undercut by cool lilac and deep green shadows.  

     

     

     

    Photo of Gerberoy from the belvedere overlooking the town.
    HENRI LE SIDANER

    Port-Louis 1862 - 1939 Versailles

     

     

    Henri Le Sidaner was born on the island of Mauritius in 1862. At the age of ten his family moved to Dunkirk and in 1880 Le Sidaner left for Paris where he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1882. He studied under Alexandre Cabanel until 1885, during which time he discovered the work of Edouard Manet, whose Bar aux Folies Bergères was to have a profound influence on his artistic development. Cabanel was strongly opposed to the work of the Impressionists, which led Le Sidaner to break away from the strict regime of his atelier and move to Etaples where he began to develop the technique which was to become his own personal style in the years to come.

     

    Le Sidaner travelled extensively throughout his life, visiting Holland, Belgium, Venice, London and New York; he also moved constantly throughout France. In 1901 he discovered the small town of Gerberoy (Seine et Oise), renting and then buying the house which became the inspiration for many of his paintings. He exhibited at the Paris Salon, the Galeries Georges Petit and the Goupil Gallery in London.

     

    Le Sidaner developed a highly individual style of Post-Impressionism which explores the qualities of light and objects through harmonies and counterpoint of subtle tones. After 1900 he rarely included figures in his landscapes, however subtly implying human presence through his interest in depicting a community of ancient houses, or a table set for tea. Le Sidaner’s works, with their evocation of mood and emotional engagement with landscape, have affinities with the paintings of the Symbolists and with the music of ‘Impressionist’ composers such as Claude Debussy.

     

     

     

     

    [1] Farinaux-Le Sidaner op. cit., p.14.

    [2] See Farinaux-Le Sidaner nos.623-631.

    [3] See Musée Departmental de l’Oise à Beauvais/Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse, Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) en son jardin de Gerberoy, 2001-2, p.158.

  • Henri Le Sidaner - La nappe mauve, Villefranche-sur Mer
    Henri Le Sidaner La nappe mauve, Villefranche-sur Mer Full details

    BM 91

     

    HENRI LE SIDANER

    Port-Louis 1862 - 1939 Versailles

     

    La nappe mauve, Villefranche-sur-Mer

     

    Signed lower right: Le Sidaner Oil on canvas: 25 ¾ x 31 ¾ in / 65.4 x 80.6 cm

    Frame size: 33 x 39 in / 83.8 x 99.1 cm

     

    Painted in 1929

     

    Provenance:

    Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris Private collection Sotheby’s London, December 5th, 1990, lot 122;

    Mrs Paul Mellon (1910-2014)

     

    Exhibited:

    Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Henri Le Sidaner, October 1930, no.258 Brussels, Galerie des Artistes Français, Exposition Le Sidaner, October 1931, no.24

     

    Literature:

    Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, L’Oeuvre peint et gravé, Paris 1989, p.248, no.671, illus. Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Henri Le Sidaner, Paysages intimes, Saint-Rémy-en l’Eau 2013, p.191,  illus. in colour

     

     

    Henri Le Sidaner first stayed at Villefranche-sur-Mer, a couple of miles east of Nice, in 1910, seeking a temperate winter for his son Henri, who was recovering from an operation. Like many artists based in the north of France, including Cross, Signac and Bonnard, Le Sidaner was enraptured by the light of the Midi. He later wistfully commented: ‘J’ai hâte de retrouver l’enchantement de cette lumière que mes yeux ont appris à aimer et de retrouver un moment la douceur de vivre en échappent aux hivers perdus dans la pluie’[1]. Le Sidaner’s childhood memories were of luxuriant vegetation and intense light, a complete absence of winter, as he had spent his first ten years in the French colonial island of Mauritius.

     

    In the 1920s Le Sidaner made annual visits to Villefranche, staying at the Hôtel Welcome in the Old Port, overlooking the bay. Ironically, it was also a haunt of Jean Cocteau and the Bright Young Things of the Jazz Age, who were very different in spirit from the gentle Le Sidaner. The journalist Parisis, a fellow Mauritian, wrote that Le Sidaner had ‘rien de l’exubérance du créole; tout, dans Le Sidaner semble respirer le calme, l’intimité, le silence meme, comme dans ses tableaux’[2].

     

    This exquisite painting of 1929 combines two of Le Sidaner’s favourite themes: a view from a balcony looking out and the intense, mysterious state of Mediterranean twilight. As the sun goes down, blue light fills the bay, the purples of the tablecloth and teapot pulsate and the orange cup and flowers glow in the low rays. Across the bay, the lights of Cap Ferrat begin to glimmer, while the maquis behind subsides into blue-green darkness.

     

    As so often in Le Sidaner’s works, a well-ordered human presence is implicit – but not overt – in the flower vase and table laid for one. Paul Signac noted: ‘toute son oeuvre est marquee par le gout des atmosphères tendres, douces, silencieuses. Il va même peu à peu jusqu’à supprimer de ses toiles tous les personnages, comme s’il craignait que la moindre silhouette humaine vienne en troubler le silence ouaté’[3].

     

    Le Sidaner employs his own highly original interpretation of Neo-Impressionist technique, weaving across the canvas juxtaposed touches of contrasting colours, such as the mauve and orange in the foreground tablecloth and the green and blue of the water. The mauve shadows of the tablecloth find an echo in the deeper purple shadows that frame the balcony, while the hot colours of the teacup and flowers are answered by the harbour light from Cap Ferrat. By this stage in his career, Le Sidaner inclines to an even greater simplicity and serenity of composition, using colour to manipulate mood as well as to record natural phenomena.

    HENRI LE SIDANER

    Port-Louis 1862 - 1939 Versailles

     

     

    Henri Le Sidaner was born in Port Louis, Mauritius in 1862, the son of a shipbroker of Breton descent. At the age of ten his family moved to Dunkirk and in 1880, after the death of his father, to Paris. Le Sidaner entered the studio of Alexandre Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1884, but was more inspired by Manet than by his master’s dry academicism.

    In 1889 he moved to Etaples, where he met the painters Eugène Chigot and Henri Duhem, who were to remain lifelong friends. Le Sidaner made plein-air paintings of Breton peasants and fishermen in a subdued palette.

     

    In 1892 a grant allowed him to paint in Florence, Venice and Katwijk in Holland. In 1894 he settled in Paris, transferring his allegiance from the Salon to the more avant-garde Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In this period Le Sidaner produced paintings such as the 1896 Morning (Musée de Dunkerque) and Twilight (private collection), which combine elements of Impressionist technique with Symbolist themes. That year he signed a contract with the Mancini Gallery.

     

    In 1898 Le Sidaner turned decisively towards the highly individual style, building on the innovations of Impressionism, that would characterise his work for the rest of his life. In 1898 he went to Bruges with his lover Camille; their son Louis was born in Paris in October, although the couple was based in Bruges for another year. In 1899 they returned to Paris and Le Sidaner became one of the group of artists represented by Galeries Georges Petit, which would give him financial stability and remain his dealer until 1930.

     

    Le Sidaner, keen to buy a country house around which he could develop a garden, was advised by Rodin to visit the terrain near Beauvais. In 1901 he rented a cottage in the picturesque town of Gerberoy (Seine et Oise). He bought it in 1904 and in 1910 greatly enlarged the house, creating a paradisiacal garden which provided the inspiration for many of his later paintings. Le Sidaner developed a poetic style of Post-Impressionism which explores the qualities of light and objects through harmonies and counterpoint of subtle tones. After 1900 he rarely included figures in his paintings, implying human presence through his interest in depicting a community of ancient houses, or a table set for tea. Le Sidaner’s works, with their evocation of mood and emotional engagement with landscape, have affinities with the music of ‘Impressionist’ composers such as Claude Debussy.

     

    Le Sidaner travelled in search of new motifs, wintering in Venice or London to escape the freezing cold of Gerberoy. From 1914 his family was based at a comfortable house in Versailles and summered in Gerberoy. From around 1920 his paintings employ a lighter palette and sparer, more dreamlike compositions. He was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1913 and the First Prize at the 1925 Pittsburgh International. Henri Le Sidaner died in Paris in 1939.

     

    [1] Quoted in Farinaux-Le Sidaner 2013, op. cit., p.178.

    [2] Quoted in ibid., p.183.

    [3] Quoted in Farinaux-Le Sidaner 1989, op. cit., p.30.

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