The Hut on the Forest Edge, Étaples

Henri Le Sidaner

La choza en los lindes del bosque, Étaples

Le Sidaner, Henri

Port-Louis, 1862 - Versalles, 1939

The Hut on the Forest Edge, Étaples, 1893

© Henri Le Sidaner, 2015

Signed & dated lower left: ''Henri Le Sidaner/Etaples/1893''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

Oil on canvas

46,7 x 61,6 cm

CTB.1998.43

Artwork history

  • Sotheby’s Auctions,  Lot 130, London, April 1,  1987

  • Pascale de Sarthe

  • Sotheby’s Auctions, New York, Lot 38, February 23, 1993

  • Sotheby’s Auctions, New York,  Lot 504,  November 17-18, 1998

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

1979

Cinq Siècles de Peinture à la Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Musée d´Art, n. 45

1999

Do impresionismo ó fauvismo: A pintura do cambio de século en París. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Santiago de Compostela, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, n. 27, p. 86

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 112

2000

Del post-impresionismo a las vanguardias. Pintura de comienzos del siglo XX en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio González, n. 9, p. 44

2000 - 2001

L'impressionisme i la seva empremta en la col·lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Andorra, Sala d'Exposicions del Govern d'Andorra, p. 62, lám. p. 63

2012 - 2013

Rusiñol, Monet, Gauguin, Sunyer. El paisaje en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Gerona, CaixaForum; Tarragona, CaixaForum; Lérida, CaixaForum, n. 14, p. 74, lám. p. 75. (solo Gerona)

2013 - 2014

Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, n. 13, p. 76, lám. p. 77

2017 - 2018

Scenarios. From Monet to Estes. From Trouville to Nueva York. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 16 March 2017-14 January 2018. p. 24-25.

  • -Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Y.: Le Sidaner, L’oeuvre peint et gravé. París, 1989, n. 30, p. 56, lám.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 146, lám. p. 147 [Sheet by Guillermo Solana]

  • -Rusiñol, Monet, Gauguin, Sunyer. El paisaje en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Gerona, CaixaForum; Tarragona, CaixaForum; Lérida, CaixaForum, 2012, n. 14, p. 74, lám. p. 75. (Gerona).

  • -Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, 2013, n. 13, p. 76, lám. p. 77.

  • -Scenarios. From Monet to Estes. From Trouville to Nueva York. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra,  2017,   p. 24-25. (Exhib. Cat.) [Sheet by Guillermo Solana]

Expert report

Through successive changes of style-from his more sombre early period to his later, dazzlingly colourful works, and from a flat, polished style to a vibrant handling influenced by Monet and Seurat-Le Sidaner’s work was at all times characterised by a lyrical interpretation of light, manifested particularly in the melancholy of his twilight scenes. In the 1890s, he moved much closer to the Symbolist approach, his paintings glowing with a translucent luminosity reminiscent of Whistler, and often featuring evanescent female figures of a Pre-Raphaelite type.

The present painting was executed in Étaples, on the coast of northern France, where from 1882 onwards Le Sidaner spent long periods. The composition is based on the contrast between void and mass, between the cleared space and the dense forest. In the foreground, a broad stage-like area opens out, a flat circular zone painted with long, fluid brush-strokes. In the background is the dark mass of the trees, like heavy curtains, created with densely packed vertical strokes. Our attention is divided between the hut, sheltered and at the same time threatened by the forest, and the figure of the peasant woman who slowly walks towards it, her features hidden from us. Here, Le Sidaner exploits his favourite effect: an accent of artificial light in the atmosphere of evening. Standing out amongst the colours, dulled and veiled by the whiteish mist, is the blue of the hut’s walls, and above all the little window, lit with a dot of yellow and red, a point of intense warmth which provides the focus for the sense of expectation in the scene.

The image evokes one of Baudelaire’s prose poems entitled “Les fenêtres”, from his Spleen de Paris: “There is no object more profound, more mysterious, more fertile, more sinister, more blinding than a window lit by candlelight. What can be seen by the light of the sun is always less interesting than what goes on behind glass. In that hole, black or luminous, life lives, life dreams, life suffers.”

Guillermo Solana