Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Henri Le Sidaner

Sunday (El domingo)
oil on canvas
192 x 113 cm
Musee de la Chartreuse, Douai, France

Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939), French painter and pastellist, was born to a French family in Port Louis, Mauritius. At the age of ten his family moved to Dunkirk and in 1880 he left for Paris where he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1882. He received most of his tutelage there. Later he traveled extensively throughout France. He also visited many cities around the globe, as well as villages throughout Europe.

The subject-matter and smoothly painted surfaces of some of his early paintings, such as Sunday (1898), a picture of evanescent young girls in long white dresses against a very low horizon, caused him to be compared with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but also allied him with the Symbolists. From 1900, he began to paint urban landscapes and gardens, often in a deserted state. He began at that time to favour broken brushwork reminiscent of Georges Seurat, while working primarily from memory rather than from direct observation. After a stay in Venice in 1905 he painted a series of views, that were hugely successful when exhibited in London and at the Salon de la Societe Nationale in 1906. Although the work of him appears to be impervious to the artistic changes taking place at the beginning of the twentieth century he was not totally unaffected by the development of Impressionism and neo-Impressionism. His work is very much in the realist style but at the same time evocative and poetic.