Le Sidaner moved to Versailles in 1903 with his wife-to-be, Camille and it soon became his “favourite place of residence”. In 1912 he exhibited his first series of paintings of Versailles at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He continued to paint scenes of its gardens and architecture for the rest of his life and was crowned in 1928 ‘le peintre de Versailles’ by Camille Mauclair.
Le Sidaner was particularly drawn to the gardens’ impressive fountains. Throughout his oeuvre he painted scenes of water, interested in the play of light on the sea, rivers, canals, ponds and, as we see here, in the fountain’s reflective pool. This sublime, light-infused work is typical of Le Sidaner’s style, with which he fused the Impressionists’ painterly technique with the mysterious and compelling atmospheres favoured by the Symbolists to pay homage to the beauty and mystery of the natural world.
As Paul Signac wrote of Le Sidaner: "his oeuvre displays a taste for tender, soft and silent atmospheres. Gradually, he even went so far as to eliminate all human presence from his pictures, as if he feared that the slightest human form might disturb their muffled silence".
Le Sidaner’s garden scenes, in particular, have a remarkable stillness, as the sunlight filters through the branches and cool patches of shade create intricate foliage patterns on the canvas.
In his catalogue raisonné Yann Farinaux writes that the 1920s are, “a time of utmost creative expression, where the artist reaches a climax in his art”.
Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, no. 5175 and 10220
Ernest Gaillard, Paris
Musée de Cambrai, France
Galleries Maurice Sternberg, Chicago
Private Collection, Winnipeg
Private Collection, Toronto
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, ' Salle Le Sidaner', April 1921 (no. 143)
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, 'Henri Le Sidaner Paysages intimes', Monelle Hayot, 2013, illus. p.271
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, 'Le Sidaner: l’oeuvre peint et grave', Milan,
1989, page 183, no. 467 (illustrated)