Galerie Georges Petit, Paris Private collection, Los Angeles Private collection, London Guarisco Gallery, Washington, D.C.
“Le Sidaner Exhibition,” Goupil Gallery, London, February, 1905 (no. 22) (illus.) Salon de la Société National des Beaux-arts, Paris, 1905 (no. 807) “Société Nouvelle,” Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1905 “Exposition Le Sidaner,” Prague, 1907
Lady Colin Campbell, Henri Le Sidaner: Souvenir Catalogue of Exhibition of Works Held in February, 1905, at the Goupil Gallery, London, 1905, no. 22 (illus) The Collector, 1906 Farinaux, Le Sidaner, L’Oeuvre Peint et Gravé, 1989, no. 194, pg. 100 (illus.)
Henri Le Sidaner was one of the most accomplished and celebrated French artists of the latter decades of the nineteenth – and the early decades of the twentieth- centuries. Drawing on the groundbreaking experiments of the Impressionists, Le Sidaner was a Post-Impressionist painter combining aspects of the Impressionists, Pointillists, and Symbolists to create a uniquely individual and recognizable style. His work was admired during his lifetime in France, the United Kingdom, and abroad included the United States, where his work won numerous awards and was one of the first to be included in the Phillips Collection- the first American art gallery devoted to modern art.
Born on the island of Mauritius, Le Sidaner’s family moved to Dunkirk when he was ten. There he pursued a budding interest in drawing and [painting and attended the local art classes taught by the well-know history painter Alexandre Louis Benjamin Desmit. After his father’s death in 1880, Le Sidaner moved to Paris to begin his formal artistic training. There he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-arts and attended the atelier of the renowned academic painter Alexandre Cabanel. At both the Ecole and Cabanel’s atelier, Le Sidaner felt stifled by the rigorous centuries-old academic approach to painting and, instead, was attracted to the work of avant-garde artists such as the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, and the Post-Impressionists, including the Divisionist brushwork of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.
In 1885, Le Sidaner moved to the burgeoning artist colony of Etaples in northernmost France, where he stayed at the legendary Auberge Joos, Which housed the many artists working in the area. The artists working in and around Etaples adhered to the Impressionist tenet of the painting en plein air (out-of-doors) while choosing to depict the subject of landscape and peasant and pastoral scenes that had been favored by the Barbizon School of painters. While in Etaples, Le Sidaner debuted at the official salon of the Societedes Artistes Francais in Paris in 1888, a venue at which he would continue to exhibit until 1893, when he would choose to exhibit at the more progressive salon of the Societe Nationale. Le Sidaner stayed in Etaples through 1894, where he executed numerous landscapes and peasants scenes in every season and in different atmospheric conditions.
After leaving Etaples, Le Sidaner spent a good deal of his time traveling, including visiting Venice, Belgium, Holland, London and various locales in France. He settled in Bruges in 1898, where he refined his artistic style and developed his most mature synthesis of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist tenets to created a trademark personal style characterized by divisionist brushwork – dabs, points, and smudges of paint- a high-keyed Impressionist palette, and moody, non-narrative subjects favored by the Symbolists. Beginning in 1900, Le Sidaner maintained a very active exhibition schedule abroad, in [particular being chosen to exhibit every year in the Carnegie Institute’s of International Exhibition o Paintings. Also, in 1900, the artist discovered, upon the recommendation of the sculpture Auguste Rodin, the ancient village of Gerberoy in the Oise department north of Paris. There, he purchased a house and surrounding gardens, which would become one of his favorite subjects to depict. He improved upon the gardens establishing terraced beds and introducing numerous varieties of flowers. The house, gardens, and terraces became inspiration for many of his most personal and poetic works.
Henri Le Sidaner was a prolific artist who enjoyed a great success and acclaim during his lifetime. His work received positive critical and popular attention. He has been identified as an Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Pointillist, Tonalist, and Symbolist, but in reality he did not adhere exclusively to any one school, but instead, developed a truly unique style that makes his work easily recognizable as his own.