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Louveciennes in the Snow, 1872

Alfred Sisley

French, 1839-1899
Oil on canvas
20 x 28-3/4 in. (50.8 x 73.0 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Born to an expatriate English family, Sisley trained with Monet and Renoir in Paris during the 1860s and joined his friends in the Impressionist exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s. There his works were distinguished by their radical economy of means. Here, portraying freshly fallen snow in an open field, he used a few quick strokes to convey roofs and chimneys, trees silhouetted against a cloudy sky, a woman with a basket in the middle distance. The winter of 1872–73 was particularly severe, as the Impressionists’ pictures of towns up and down the Seine attest: snow falls on Monet’s Argenteuil; frost sparkles at Pissarro’s Pontoise. Sisley and his colleagues had settled in these towns, each a short train ride from Paris, for their cheap rents and ready access to nature. The rapid brushwork of this snow scene likely reflects the fact that Sisley painted it outdoors, en plein air, racing against the cold.

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