The Museums of Liege, of Carcassonne, of Limoux and of Laren joined to honor Henri Le Sidaner, born at Port-Louis, Mauritius Islands, on August 7, 1862 and deceased at Touquet in 1939 at the age of seventy-seven years.
The exhibition at the Museum of Limoux makes it possible to have a complete vision of his artistic development, from his impressionist beginnings till his maturity while passing by the symbolism and the sentimental evocation of the landscape.
Henri Le Sidaner was a student at the College de Maurice. His father was an inspector at the French Lloyd and a correspondent of the Véritas Bureau.
By the time of a sojourn at the Côte d’Opale, at Etaples, Henri discovers the impressionist painting. At the Salon of 1882, he is conquered by two paintings of Manet: “Le Printemps” and “Un bar aux Folies-Bergère”. At the same year, he discovers the paintings of Claude Monet and his friends which incite him to start painting with the same technique at the small port of Etaples.
“It is a place of noble character,” he will write “with beautiful single lines, harmonious horizons of water and dunes, to some extent this severe place that our great Cazin immortalized”.
The work of the painter consists in his opinion of a fight with the nature, a battle “with the diversity of effects which the splendor of the seasons renews”. The subject of his paintings is encased in this soft melancholy which will accompany from now on all his works.
The encounters multiply: Eugene Chigot, Paul Graf, Eugene Vail as well as the friendship with Henri and Marie Duhem.
The year of 1896 marks an important turning point of his works. The symbolist inspiration of the subjects boosts a renewed interest for the light. More than the subject it is, from now on, the particular surrounding luminosity that attempt to fix the painter.
From now on master of his style, Henri Le Sidaner crosses a period of intense creative activity. His taste for the light effects condenses on the light-dark and the twilight tones.
Discarding gradually the diffuse gleams of gray-blue and pearled white, he reveal, by juxtaposed touches, the daring ranges of the greens, the pinks, the reds or the purples.
In 1913, the artist sends to the Salon the series of skies, greeted by Roger-Marx, Apollinaire and Gabriel Mouret. Guillaume Apollinaire says of him: “Mr. Le Sidaner made a major effort to renew himself this year, he paints the sky just for the sky. His paintings represent each one a night sky, a true composition which could only have happened as the result of the struggle with the darkness of the night, but the artist accomplished the purpose of his celestial intention and it is all to his honor”.
The art of Le Sidaner reached its full maturity. His major concern remains the effect. He teaches exhaustively to his students that no landscape must be painted without the light effect which emphasizes it. “The interiors”, as has written by the time Jacques Norval (1927) evoking his range of execution, “are extremely broad by the refinement of the nuances, but they remain, always restrained in the distribution of the accents. One is surprised to feel such an amount of life within these frameworks often little furnished. It is this phenomenon of suggestion which consequently strikes and makes us take intimately part of his work”.
From the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas where he sojourns in 1928, Henri Le Sidaner brings back the most bright and happy paintings which he had undoubtedly created.
In 1938, the artist returns to Touquet. He dies on the following year, leaving behind him a magic and bright work, with impressionist accents.
As has expressed so well Camille Mauclair in 1925: “He seemed to proceed from the Impressionism because he painted the light on the surfaces more than the surfaces themselves, stressing with a delicious tenderness the slow death of a clearness forgotten by an invisible sky, the tender conflicts of reflections, the glimpses of diffuse colors, the delicate and immaterial exchanges of shadows of the sky and the water. But changing slowly, like Rodenbach and Debussy to which he resembles, he could make the impressionist technique a way to express the interior life”.
An exhibition which will captivate all those in love with the impressionism.