On September 24, 2015, the Kimbell Art Museum announced the acquisition of Alfred Sisley’s The Kitchen Garden, 1872, a superb example of early Impressionist landscape painting by one of the leading figures in the movement. The beautifully preserved painting will be on view in the Museum’s Kahn Building galleries today, Thursday, September 24, 2015. Admission is always free to view works from the permanent collection.
“More than any other work in the Museum, Kitchen Garden reflects the Impressionists’ fascination for bright chromatic painting,” commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “In its seemingly random, everyday, domestic subject, it adds a new dimension to the mix of themes represented in our holdings. And in its evocation of a country garden beneath an almost cloudless summer sky, the painting now ranks among the most joyful in the Museum’s collection.”
Although the artist’s dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, first recorded the canvas with the title Flower Garden, when it entered his stock again in 1909 it was called by the more accurate title Kitchen Garden. In fact, the painting shows an ordinary yard behind a suburban residence, with its gardener’s shed, cold frame and greenhouse. Earthen paths surround beds planted with both vegetables and cutting flowers. Dating from the time just before the first Impressionist exhibition, the work demonstrates its author’s fondness for delicate touches of the brush and for luminous color.
One of the major figures who revolutionized landscape painting at the time, Sisley was the son of an Englishman who manufactured artificial flowers. He befriended Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Frédéric Bazille in the early 1860s and spent most of his working life not in Paris but in smaller towns along the rivers Seine and Loing. In the early 1870s, he often painted with Monet and with Camille Pissarro at such towns as Louveciennes and Argenteuil.
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (no. D 13816), by whom acquired by from the artist on April 25, 1890, with the title Jardin de Fleurs (Flower Garden);
Frank Thompson (1841–1899), Philadelphia, by whom acquired from the above on 20 November 1890;
Anne Thompson (1872–1954), Philadelphia, by descent from the above;
Galerie Durand-Ruel, New York (no. 3315), by whom acquired from the above on April 17, 1909, with the title Potager (Kitchen Garden);
Kunsthandel Huinck & Scherjon, Amsterdam (no. 622), by whom acquired from the above on June 4, 1931;
J. W. Verloop, Bilthoven, Netherlands, from the above; the painting remained in this collection until its sale to the Kimbell Art Foundation.
The Kitchen Garden (Le Potager), 1872
Oil on canvas
19 3/4 x 25 7/8 in. (50.2 x 65.7 cm)
Kimbell Art Museum