Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) Petite porte de Trianon 28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in (73 x 60 cm) (Painted in 1926)
Lot 1
Henri Le Sidaner
Petite porte de Trianon 28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in (73 x 60 cm)
Sold for US$ 143,750 inc. premium

Impressionist & Modern Art

17 May 2017, 17:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) Petite porte de Trianon 28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in (73 x 60 cm) (Painted in 1926)
Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939)
Petite porte de Trianon
signed 'Le Sidaner' (lower right)
oil on canvas
28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in (73 x 60 cm)
Painted in 1926


  • Provenance
    Galeries George Petit, Paris, 1926 (inv. no. 9357).
    Knoedler & Co., New York, 11 June 1926 (on consignment from the above; inv. nos. 16500 and 7775).
    Brigadier-General Samuel McRoberts, The Ledges, New York, acquired from the above on 13 December 1926.
    Sven Salen through Gotaas & Co., as part of the contents of The Ledges, 31 March 1948.
    Presented by the above to the father of the present owner circa 1949.

    Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, L'oeuvre peint et gravé, Milan, 1989, no. 583 (illustrated p. 218).

    Petite porte de Trianon, painted in 1926, demonstrates Le Sidaner's masterful depiction of light and form, and his talent for channeling the optical effects of color. 'Effect was his overriding concern. As he would often point out to his students, no landscape was worth painting if it was not enhanced by some play of light' (R. Le Sidaner, 'How I saw the painter Le Sidaner' in Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 9).

    Henri Le Sidaner began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1882, but quickly rejected his academic training. While he was considered an Impressionist artist through his soft brushstrokes and his wonderful ability at capturing light and it's changing effects, he never included himself in the movement. He developed his own techniques and a personal version of Impressionism to which he remained faithful, never departing from it until his death in 1939. According to his son, Rémy Le Sidaner, 'his painting technique changed very little after 1900 ... A number of art critics claimed that Henri Le Sidaner was unaware of the great changes that had occurred in European painting at the beginning of the twentieth century. That was not the case. He had found his way in life and had decided that he would not stray from it' (R. Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 17). Many art critics tried to categorize Le Sidaner's style only to realize that it was a combination of different approaches combined with a very personal sensibility. In 1924, Jacques Baschet commented that 'he is a pointilliste, but not the kind who decomposes tones and applies them unmixed, thereby letting our eyes reconstitute the colors on our retina. His palette is extremely varied and subtle. The oils bind and melt together in highly delicate harmonies. Nor is he the kind to enclose forms within a heavy brushstroke, as is the practice among the younger school of painters. With him, contours seem to emerge from the interplay of light, and in this respect, he is similar to Claude Monet' (J. Baschet, L'Illustration, 1924, quoted in Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 37). Le Sidaner's Petite porte de Trianon is a prime example of Baschet's analysis.

    Le Sidaner shared his love of painting gardens with Claude Monet, a close friend, and indeed was particularly fascinated by Monet's paintings at Giverny. This enthusiasm led him to purchase property in Gerberoy in 1901. On this property he designed a garden that was to become his inspiration for many of his paintings from that year on. As Paul Signac noted, Le Sidaner's 'entire work is influenced by a taste for tender, soft and silent atmospheres. Gradually, he even went so far as to eliminate from his paintings all human figures, as if he feared that the slightest human form might disturb their muffled silence' (P. Signac, quoted in Y.Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., Milan, 1989, p. 31). This soft and tranquil atmosphere resonates from the canvas in Petite porte de Trianon. We enter the painting through the shade of a side door onto a mossy cobblestone floor. The shade creates a portal which directs our view to the tree-lined path in the distance. Light plays softly across the leaves reflecting onto the gravel path. Le Sidaner captures the luminosity of the sunlight, even with his soft pastel-toned palette, creating a bright reflection that appears to sparkle. Flashes of light shine through in the shade and are picked up in dappled patches on the cobblestones. The scene appears still save for the impression of Nature taking her part with a breeze filtering through the leaves creating dancing plays of light. With this skill, Le Sidaner 'achieved different effects with the garden scenes. Here he would play with the sunlight filtering through the branches, the cool patches of shade and the delicate tones of the petals' (R. Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 9).

    Petite porte de Trianon has a remarkable provenance. The work was painted in 1926 and immediately sent up to Galeries George Petit in Paris, who represented Le Sidaner from 1899 until 1933. It was placed on consignment with Knoedler & Co., agents for Georges Petit in New York, and was presumably shipped immediately to America. The Knoedler stock books, now at the Getty Research Institute, show that it was sold in December of that year to Brigadier-General Samuel McRoberts, a Vice President of the National City Bank of New York. McRoberts purchased the work for The Ledges, a mansion he had built at Mount Kisco, Westchester County. Following McRobert's death in 1948 the estate and the entire contents of the mansion were bought by the Swedish shipping magnate Sven Salen, in the name of his compatriot Trygve Gotaas's holding company. Salen gave the Le Sidaner to a colleague as a gesture of thanks in 1949 and it has remained in his family ever since.
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