Venice has always been an endless source of inspiration for painters. Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) went there several times and brought back vaporous, poetic paintings.
Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939), Venise, Le pont des Soupirs (Venice, the Bridge of Sighs), c. 1912, signed oil on panel, 32 x 26 cm/ 12.59 x 10.24 in.
In 1897, Henri Le Sidaner had his first solo show at the Mancini Gallery. His Symbolist paintings and fragmented brushstrokes recall Lévy-Dhurmer and Henri Martin, with whom he founded the Intimist movement. Le Sidaner was in a financial position to travel. Between 1900 and his death in 1939, he visited many European countries, including Italy, especially Venice. This choice came naturally: born in Mauritius, his father was a long-distance sea captain and he enjoyed capturing the shifting effects of water and its colorful nuances.
His Venetian works fascinated the greatest artists, not the least of whom was Claude Monet. “Le Sidaner,” he wrote, “admirably evokes the night, when the glow of a gas lamp reveals the graceful shapes of gondolas swaying in the water.” In 1914, the Venice Biennale honored him with a major show of his work. Monet and Whistler painted Venice, whose unique, poetic atmosphere also inspired Le Sidaner. This is where, driven by the desire to sublimate nature and everyday life, he gave free rein to a style straddling realism and idealization. At his death, a painting of Venice was found on his easel in his Versailles studio.