In the catalogue raisonné of the work of Henri Le Sidaner, Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner describes the year 1923 as "a time of utmost creative expression where the artist reaches a climax in his art." Le Café du Port, for which the present work is a study, is a highly important work from Le Sidaner’s oeuvre painted in Gerberoy after a study trip to Brittany earlier that year. Le Sidaner wanted to paint a seminal work bringing together his work from Brittany with his ‘table top’ paintings. He set up this composition in his garden imagining Brittany beyond the garden. It was one of eighteen works were successfully exhibited at the Galerie Georges Petit in March 1923.
As an artist predominately known for his silent scenes bereft of human figures, the present study is a remarkable exception, showcasing Le Sidaner’s masterful ability to harmonize disparate elements of a composition and bring a coherent sense of unity to the entire scene. Le Sidaner captures two of his most favored subjects: the table and the port. In this way, the artist not only generates an uncommonly deep perspectival horizon, which is in contrast to his other table scenes of the same period, but also includes figures, both sitting at the café tables and walking along the water’s edge.
Le Sidaner’s contract allowed the artist to retain one canvas per year from his artistic output. Le Sidaner chose to keep Le Café du Port and its study until his passing in 1939. The canvas of Le Café du Port was sold in 1965 and irreparably damaged when it was cut into two separate canvases in the hope of a further financial gain. The right-hand side of the canvas sold at Christie’s in 2008 for almost $1,000,000.
Private Collection, Paris
Paris, Galerie Lorenceau,Tables et fenêtres par Henri Le Sidaner, 1952, no.20
Liege, Musée d'art Moderne et d'art Contemporain; Carcassonne, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Limoux, Musée Petiet; Laren, Singer Museum,Henri Le Sidaner 1862-1939, 1996 - 1997, no.60
Pont-Aven, Musée de Pont-Aven,Henri Le Sidaner et la Bretagne, 2002, no.34, illustrated in colour
Chemnitz, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz,Henri Le Sidaner, A Magical Impressionist, 2009, no.67
Karuizawa, Musée d’Art Mercian Karuizawa; Saitama, Museum of Modern Art; Kyoto, The Museum Eki Kyoto; Tokyo, Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Museum of Art; Hiroshima, Hiroshima Museum of Art,Henri Le Sidaner, 2011 - 2012, no.38
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Henri Le Sidaner - Paysages intimes, Monelle Hayot, 2013, illus. p.174
Paris, Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner, l'oeuvre peint et gravé, Éditions André Sauret, 1989, no.1153, illus. p.364