Paris. La Seine au pont de l'Estacade signed 'S. Lepine' (lower right) oil on canvas 37.2 x 55.3cm (14 5/8 x 21 3/4in). Painted in 1880
This work will be included in the forthcoming Premier Supplément au Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Stanislas Lepine (1835-1892) and is registered in the archives under the reference C1.1113.
A typical subject for Lépine, the present work shows the small footbridge, the Pont de l'Estacade, which was erected in 1818 and repaired several times before being demolished in 1938. The dome beyond the bridge is that of the church of St. Louis-St. Paul on the rue St Antoine. Lépine executed several versions of this view, receiving a first class medal for Le Pont de l'Estacade à Paris at the International Exhibition in 1889.
The artist's favoured subjects were largely restricted to the bridges and streets of Paris, and the ports of his native Normandy. Figures rarely dominate his canvases and are overshadowed instead by both nature and the man-made structures he depicts. Acting as echoes of the vertical lines of the bridge and buildings, our gaze quickly moves past the men in the present work to settle on the dominant bridge and stunning Parisian skyline.
Rendered with quick, delicate brushstrokes, the surface of the Seine appears to ripple and shimmer under a light-suffused sky. Lépine's skilful rendering of light and atmosphere anticipates that of the Impressionists, in whose first exhibition in 1874 his work was included, but his brushwork remained ever light and elegant. The present work is modelled in his characteristically soft and harmonious palette of blues and greys, whilst soft sunlight highlights the structures throughout.