Flood at Port-Marly

Alfred Sisley

L´Inondation à Port-Marly

Sisley, Alfred

París, 1839 - Moret-sur-Loing, 1899

Flood at Port-Marly, 1876

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed & dated lower right: ''Sisley 76''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid

Oil on canvas

50 x 61,7 cm


Artwork history

  • Durand-Ruel, París

  • Jules Strauss (1861-1943), París, c. 1890

  • Hôtel Drouot (Sold Jules Strauss), París, May 3, 1902lot 63, Sold by 8.900 fr.

  • M. Sambon, París

  • Georges Petit Gallery, París. c. 1917

  • Antonio Santamarina (1880-1974), Buenos Aires, before 1930

  • Mrs. de Antonio Santamarina, Buenos Aires

  • Sotheby’s. Catalogue of a Distinguished Collection of French Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Paintings and Drawings Formed by the Present Owner Between 1895 and 1930, London, April 2, 1974, lot 16.

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1974

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection


3e exposition de peinture, París, 6, rue Le Peletier, n. 227 (como "Inondations") (?). Información tomada de Shone 1994, p. 94


Exposition d'art français du XIXe siècle : au profit de l'Association générale des mutilés de la guerre, París, Galerie Paul Rosenberg, n. 26


Escuela francesa, Siglos XIX y XX, Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, n. 104


Impresionismo francés en las colecciones argentinas, Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, n. 74. "Propietario: Antonio Santamarina" según figura en la etiqueta de la trasera


Sisley, Nueva York, Wildenstein & Co., n. 30


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokio, National Museum of Modern Art; Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, n. 7, p. 134, lám. p. 23


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Londres, Royal Academy of Arts, n. 7, p. 29


Maestri dell'arte moderna nella Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Florencia, Palazzo Pitti, n. 7, p. 185, lám. p. 25


Moderne Malerei aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, n. 7, p. 187, lám. p. 25

1985 - 1986

Maîtres Modernes de la Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, París, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, n. 7, p. 193, lám. 33


Maestros modernos de la Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Biblioteca Nacional, Ministerio de Cultura; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina, n. 7, p. 200, lám p. 29


Impressionismo e Postimpressionismo. Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza / Impressionismus und Postimpressionismus. Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, Villa Favorita, n. 23, p. 60

1997 - 1998

The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Nueva York, The Frick Collection; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, n. 11, p. 46


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. 18, p. 64

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 58


De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX, p. 196


Landschaften von Brueghel bis Kandinsky. Die Ausstellung zu Ehren des Sammlers Hans Heinrich Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, n. 60, p. 158


Alfred Sisley. Poeta del Impresionismo, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 29, pp. 192, 193 (lám.) y cubierta


Alfred Sisley. Poeta dell´impressionismo, Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, n. 24, p. 178, lám. p. 179 y cubierta

2002 - 2003

Alfred Sisley. Poète de l'impressionisme, Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, n. 30, pp. 168 y 169 (lám.)


Impressionnisme et naissance du cinématographe, Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, n. 37, p. 131


Impresionismo y Aire libre. De Corot a Van Gogh, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 98, p. 189, lám.


Alfred Sisley (1839-1899). Impressionist Master. Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut. January 21, May 21, 2017. p. 110-111.


Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, p. 68-69 y 100-101.


Josep Amat converses with impressionism. Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen. On-line edition. Espai Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

  • -Rivière, Georges: “L’Exposition des impressionnistes”. L’Impressionniste. Journal d’art. n. 2, April 14, 1877 , p. 4.

  • -Daulte, François: Alfred Sisley. Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint. Lausana, Éditions Durand-Ruel, 1959, n. 236, fig.

  • -Demoriane, Hélène: ‘Jules Strauss et ses disciples”.  Connaissance des Arts. París, agosto 1961, n. 114. pp. 60-69 , fig. p. 63.

  • Tableaux, dessins et bronzes français dans la collection de monsieur Antonio Santamarina. London & Bradford, Percy Lund, Humphries & Co. Ltd., 1965, pp. 50-51, lám. y s.p. ( photo  Antonio Santamarina´s house)

  • -Venturi, Lionello: Les Archives de l’Impressionnisme. 2 vols. New York, Burt Franklin, 1968 [ed. org. Paris-New York, Durand-Ruel, éditeurs, 1939], vol. 1, p. 261.

  • -Daulte, François: Sisley. Múnich, Schuler Verlagsgesellschaft, 1975, lám. p. 43.

  • -Sutton, Denys: ”Art for Pleasure”.  Apollo. London, 1983, vol. 118, n. 257 , lám. X p. 9


  • -Whitfield, Sarah: Impressionismo e Postimpressionismo. Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza. [Exhib. Cat. Lugano, Villa Favorita]. Lugano, Fondazione Thyssen-Bornemisza – Milán, Electa, 1990. [Ed. al. e ing.] , lám. p. 60 [Sheet by  Sarah Whitfield]

  • Sisley. Lloyd, Christopher [et al.] (eds.). [Exhib. Cat. London, Royal Academy of Arts; París, Musée d’Orsay; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, 1992-1993]. París, Editions de la Réunión des musées nationaux, 1992, fig. 99 p. 170.

  • -Shone, R.: Sisley. London, Phaidon Press Limited, 1992, n. 77, pp. 85 y 102, lám. p. 105.

  • -Shone, Richard: Sisley. London, Phaidon Press Limited, 1994, n. 32, pp. 29, 90 y 94, lám. p. 95.

  • The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Llorens, Tomàs (curator). [Exhib. Cat. New York, The Frick Collection, September 17-November 30, 1997; Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, December 21, 1997-March 15, 1998]. Madrid, Ediciones El Viso, 1997 , p. 46, lám. p. 47 [Sheet by Tomàs Llorens]

  • -Dumas, Ann: “Alfred Sisley: l’autentico impressionista”.  Ferrara 2002, pp. 23-48, cit. p. 40.

  • -Dumas, Ann: “Hapmpton Court, Marly-le-Roi, Port-Marly – Inondazioni (1874-77)”.  Ferrara 2002, pp. 165-167, cit. p. 167.

  • Alfred Sisley. Poeta dell’impressionismo. Stevens, MaryAnne y Dumas, Ann (eds.). [Exhib. Cat. Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti]. Ferrara, Ferrara Arte, 2002 [Text Alfred Sisley. Poeta del Impresionismo. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2002; french: Alfred Sisley. Poète de l’impressionisme. Lyón, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 2002-2003] , p. 178, lám. p. 179 y cover [Sheet by Frances Fowles]

  • Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 46, lám. p. 47 [Sheet by Tomàs Llorens]

  • -Borobia, Mar y Alarcó, Paloma (eds.): Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Obras escogidas. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2011, p. 174, lám. p. 175.

  • -Alarcó, P. y Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 248, lám. p. 249.

  • -Alfred Sisley (1839-1899). Impressionist Master. Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut & Culturespaces,  2017. D. 236, p. 110-111 (detail).

  • -Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 2018. p. 68-69 y 100-101. [Exhib. Cat.] [Sheet by Tomás Llorens]

Expert report

This painting shows the rue de Paris in Port-Marly. To the right, behind a double row of trees, we can see the Seine. Under a changing sky, full of clouds torn by the wind, the rising water is beginning to flood the pavement and the road.

In December 1872 Sisley had painted four pictures showing floods at Port-Marly. In 1876 there was another flood and Sisley executed seven paintings as documentary evidence of its different stages, from the first rise in water level to the return of the river to its normal course.

In some of the paintings of 1872, as well as in those of 1876, the artist chose a frontal view, avoiding perspective effects, while at the same time organising the composition according to a strict geometry, as Georges Seurat would do to a certain extent in the following decade. Yet the work we are analysing seems to have been organised in line with traditional perspective. Nevertheless, instead of giving an impression of stability, as might have been expected from this return to tradition, this composition is unsteady, as if the vanishing point were somehow a vortex around which the whole scene whirled. This effect is partly due to the atypical use that Sisley makes of the principles of perspective. Let us observe, for example, the facades of the houses on the left, in the foreground. Their inclusion in the scene depicted seems incompatible with the point of view that the onlooker would assume for the rest of the picture. This instability effect is accentuated by the striking spontaneity of the brushstrokes as well as by a particular sensitivity with regard to colour, which enables the artist to use a combination of shades of blue and black that very few Impressionist painters would have dared to include in their compositions.

In September 1876, shortly after Sisley had concluded his series on the floods at Port-Marly, Stéphane Mallarmé published an article on the Impressionist artists in the London magazine The Art Monthly Review. Regarding Sisley, Mallarmé wrote: “He captures the fleeting effects of light. He observes a passing cloud and seems to depict it in its flight. The crisp air goes through the canvas and the foliage stirs and shivers”. If we forget for one moment that the vegetation represented in this picture is made up of still tree branches devoid of leaves in February, those lines might well be read as a precise evocation of the painting we are contemplating.

Tomàs Llorens