National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Boulevard Héloïse, Argenteuil Alfred Sisley (artist)
French, 1839 - 1899
Boulevard Héloïse, Argenteuil, 1872
oil on canvas
overall: 39.5 x 59.6 cm (15 9/16 x 23 7/16 in.) framed: 63.2 x 85.1 x 10.8 cm (24 7/8 x 33 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection
On View
From the Tour: The Beginnings of Impressionist Landscape
Object 5 of 7

The town of Argenteuil on the Seine was less than a thirty-minute train ride from Paris' Gare Saint-Lazare. The river widened at Argenteuil, and it became a popular spot for boating and water sports, attracting industry as well. After Monet moved there in 1871, he often hosted colleagues like Sisley. Sometimes the two friends set up their easels side by side, as they seem to have done on the Boulevard Héloïse. Argenteuil attracted well-to-do yachtsmen, but here it is the working town that Sisley records. He seems most concerned with its shapes and textures and the delicate colors of the pale winter sky. A softening of detail conveys the chill of a damp day. Of all the impressionists, Sisley was the one most committed to landscape and to the impressionist style in its most pure form, never abandoning, even temporarily, impressionism's goal of capturing the transient effects of light and atmosphere.

Monet and Sisley met while students of the academic painter Charles Gleyre. With Renoir and Frédéric Bazille, also studying in Gleyre's studio, and with Camille Pissarro they formulated the essential goals of impressionism.

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