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Audio Guide - Adult

Le pont d'Argenteuil (The Bridge at Argenteuil), 1872

Artist: Alfred Sisley, French, 1839 - 1899

Medium: Oil on canvas

Painting: 15 1/4 x 24 in. (38.7 x 61 cm)
Frame: 24 x 32 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (61 x 82.6 x 9.5 cm)

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon

Object Number: 54.64

On View

Edouard Manet, Paris, 1883; Durand-Ruel, Paris (sale, April 7, 1899) Allard, Paris, 1899; Georges Feydeau, Paris (sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, Feb. 11, 1901, No. 91); Durand-Ruel, Paris, (sale, Paris, March 7, 1901); Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 1901; Eduard Arnhold, Berlin; Mr. Kunheim, (Hugo Edward Kunheim or Arnold Ernst Kunheim-grandsons of Eduard Arnhold), Ascona, Switzerland, ca. 1950s; D. Fritz Nathan, Zurich, Switzerland, 1954; M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York, 1954; Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon, Memphis, Tennessee, 1954 (with life interest retained)

Born in Paris, Alfred Sisley studied in the studio of Marc Charles-Gabriel Gleyre from 1860 to 1864 with fellow students Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Jean-Frédéric Bazille. Gleyre’s approach encouraged working with a palette specifically prepared to accommodate painting quickly en plein-air (out-of-doors). Sisley and his classmates later employed these methods when they became interested in recording their visual perceptions of nature and the transitory effects of light and weather. These overriding concerns led to the evolution of what critics eventually called Impressionism. By 1874, when Sisley participated in the First Impressionist Exhibition, he had adopted a bold, broken brushstroke and a brighter color palette, like his colleagues. But unlike Monet and Renoir, who included figures in their work, Sisley remained dedicated, almost exclusively, to painting the landscape throughout his career.


While living in Louveciennes in 1872, Sisley visited Monet at Argenteuil and produced a series of paintings of the town and its environs. The Bridge at Argenteuil depicts the road bridge crossing the Seine with Petit Gennevilliers on the right and Argenteuil on the left. Sisley’s carefully balanced composition includes a pathway directing the viewer’s gaze to a horizon line formed by a distant railway bridge and the hills of Sannois. In this idyllic scene, puffs of clouds dot the sky above as a sailboat floats on the water and a boatman walks from the shore, bent under the weight of his oars. With small, swift strokes of raw sienna, green, and salmon set against the gray blue expanse of water and sky, Sisley captures the fleeting atmosphere of a softly lit wintry day along the Seine. This canvas was later lent by Édouard Manet for inclusion in theThird Impressionist Exhibition of 1877.