The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, 1872. Alfred Sisley. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson Jr., 1964.
Recently built, state-of-the-art bridges, emblematic of modernity, appear in a number of Sisley’s paintings of the 1870s and early 1880s. This close-up, dramatically angled view depicts the cast-iron and stone suspension bridge that was constructed in 1844 to connect the village of Villeneuve-la-Garenne with the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Sisley enlivened the scene by showing holidaymakers on the Seine and along the riverbank. Flat strokes of high-keyed color convey the fleeting effect of sunlight on the water.