Henri Le Sidaner
La Maison aux roses, Versailles, c.1931 - 1936
Signed lower right 'Le Sidaner'
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 32 in, 64.7 x 81.28 cm
Executed at the end of his long and successful career, this poignant work is iconic of one of Henri Le Sidaner’s most familiar themes: the rose-covered doorway. Painted at his...
Executed at the end of his long and successful career, this poignant work is iconic of one of Henri Le Sidaner’s most familiar themes: the rose-covered doorway. Painted at his home in Versailles, it relates to the earlier work 'La Maison aux roses' from 1928 which belongs to the Musée du Touquet-Paris-Plage.
In 1880 Henri Le Sidaner moved to Paris where he studied painting first at the atelier of Alexandre Cabanel and then at the Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts. In the French capital he was inspired by both the Impressionists’ painterly technique and the mysterious atmospheres favoured by the Symbolists, including his close friends Henri Martin and Ernest Laurent. Over time Le Sidaner brought these two generally contrasting strands together. This sublime work showcases his exquisite Impressionistic brushwork and light-infused palette he used to pay homage to the beauty of the natural world.
In 1903 Le Sidaner moved to Versailles with his wife-to-be, Camille. Alongside his home at Gerberoy, Versailles was to become 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.
During the 1930s Le Sidaner’s works became increasingly intimate in composition and tender in tone; he would paint simple, poetic scenes of his homes in Gerberoy and Versailles, focusing on the motif of the doorway overhung with roses. For Le Sidaner the image of shutters enhanced by heavy roses symbolised “that elusive grace which characterizes the blossoming of nature". This painting also shows Le Sidaner’s belief that no landscape was worth painting unless it was enhanced by some play of light. He experimented with all sources of light, and was particularly drawn to the alluring hour of twilight, which gives works such as this an aura of wistful tenderness.
By this time, human figures no longer appear in the canvases of Le Sidaner. As Paul Signac noted, “His entire work is influenced by a taste for tender, soft and silent moods. Gradually, he has gone so far as to eliminate from his paintings all human figures, as if fearing that the slightest human element might disturb their cocooned stillness”. Instead, he implies human presence through the play of warm, golden light from within the home.
Private Collection, New York
Hammer Galleries, New York (acquired by 1980)
Sak's Gallery, Denver
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 9 May 1991, lot 222
Private Collection, USA
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Institute, International Exhibition of Paintings, October – November 1936, no.161 (titled the Flowering Window)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity (no. LS 477) signed by Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner and dated 15 November 2014
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Henri Le Sidaner - Paysage Intimes, Monelle Hayot, 2014, illus. p. 286