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Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne

Artist: Alfred Sisley
Created: 1872
Dimensions (cm): 65.4 x 49.5
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Private collection

Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne

British Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley created his work entitled ‘Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne’ in 1872.  Sisley lived and worked in France and followed his overwhelming desire to paint in 1862 to study at the Atelier Gleyre.  It was here that he met fellow artists Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  Together, they painted “en plein air”, an innovative approach at the time which produced colourful paintings that captured the effects of clouds, light, and nature itself. 

Alfred Sisley’s passion to paint the sky became his signature characteristic.  ‘Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne’ is a good example of his skill in not only capturing the effects of daylight on the landscape, but also in reflecting the bright blue sky and its clouds in the water. He adopted the short, rapid brushstrokes associated with Impressionist painters, a technique he used throughout his entire career. 

‘Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne’ illustrates a suspension bridge along one of the riverbanks of the Seine River.  Typical of Sisley’s work, the brushstrokes are flat and rectangular, maintaining crisp pronunciation of the forms.  Special attention is paid to the surrounding natural elements, and meticulous details are applied to objects that would normally dissolve into the background.  The glistening water, which is made to look like it is moving, adds life to the landscape, and extends a pleasing invitation to all viewers to take part in the scene. 

Analysis and Reviews

Compared with many of the Impressionist painters, including the more familiar Monet and Renoir, art historian Robert Rosenblum has judged Sisley’s work as “strongly invoking atmosphere and his skies are always very impressive.”

Fellow art historian Kenneth Clark described Sisley’s 1874 series of 20 paintings of the Upper Thames as “a perfect moment of Impressionism”. 

‘Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne’ is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, U.S.A.. 



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