HENRI LE SIDANER (1862 - 1939)


Henri Le Sidaner was born in 1862 at Port Louis in Mauritius of Breton parents, he visited the College and was interested in drawings.
His father was an inspector at the French Lloyd and a correspondent of the Véritas Bureau.

His family returned to France in 1872 and settled in Dunkirk, where he began his art studies under A. Desmit.

1880 - 1882 Le Sidaner received most of his tutelage from the École des Beaux-Arts under the instruction of Alexandre Cabanel but later broke away due to artistic differences.

By the time of a sojourn at the Côte d'Opale, at Etaples, Henri discovers the impressionist painting. At the Salon of 1882, he is conquered by two paintings of Manet: "Le Printemps" and "Un bar aux Folies-Bergère".

At the same year, he discovers the paintings of Claude Monet and his friends which incite him to start painting with the same technique at the small port of Etaples.
"It is a place of noble character," he will write "with beautiful single lines, harmonious horizons of water and dunes, to some extent this severe place that our great Cazin immortalized".

Between 1885 and 1894 Le Sidaner lived the year round at the Etaples art colony and was joined there by his childhood friend Eugène Chigot (1860-1923), who shared his interest in atmospheric light. Later Le Sidaner traveled extensively throughout France. He also visited many cities around the globe.

1894 Le Sidaner moves to Paris, to the rue Émile Allez.

The year of 1896 marks an important turning point of his works. The symbolist inspiration of the subjects boosts a renewed interest for the light. More than the subject it is, from now on, the particular surrounding luminosity that attempt to fix the painter.

Le Sidaner crosses a period of intense creative activity. His taste for the light effects condenses on the light-dark and the twilight tones. Discarding gradually the diffuse gleams of gray, blue and pearled white, he reveal, by juxtaposed touches, the ranges of the greens, the pinks, the reds or the purples.

In 1901 he settled in the very nice village of Gerberoy (Oise), where his house and garden became a constant inspiration for his pictures.

 He exhibited at the Salon, the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris and in 1905 he held his first one-man exhibition at the Goupil Gallery, London.

The art of Le Sidaner reached its full maturity. His major concern remains the effect. He teaches exhaustively to his students that no landscape must be painted without the light effect which emphasizes it.

Henri Le Sidaner died in 1939 in Paris.

Marcel Proust's mention of Le Sidaner's work in his novel "In Search of Lost Time" confirms its later reputation. In Sodom and Gomorrah, the narrator mentions that an eminent barrister from Paris had devoted his income to collecting the paintings of the "highly distinguished" Le Sidaner.



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