About This Artwork

Alfred Sisley
French, 1839-1899

The Seine at Port-Marly, Piles of Sand, 1875

Oil on canvas
21 7/16 x 29 in. (54.5 x 73.7 cm)
Inscribed lower left: Sisley. 75

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1177

Of all the landscapes Alfred Sisley painted in and around Marly-le-Roi, where he lived from 1875 to 1878, this scene of workers dredging sand to facilitate barge traffic is perhaps the most original. Generally, the Impressionists showed the Seine River as a place of weekend leisure for Parisians, painting activities such as boating, yachting, promenading, and dining. Sisley depicted the river during the workweek, along with some of the men who depended on it for their livelihood.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, A. Sisley, February 1897, cat. 19.

Paris, Exposition Centennale de L’Art Français, 1800-1889, 1900, cat. 614, as La Seine à Port-Marly, 1875, appartient à M. George Viau.

Paris, Georges Petit, Exposition d’oeuvres d’Alfred Sisley, May 7-June 1917, cat. 64.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 302, as Sand Heaps, 1875.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 262.

Park Forest, Ill, Exhibition, March 25-April 22, 1956, no cat.

Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Trésors impressionnistes du Musée de Chicago, June 27-August 31, 1980, cat. 17 (ill.), as Les Tas de sable, 1875.

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago / Paris, Galeries Nationales d’Exposition du Grand Palais, A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape, June 28 - September 6, 1984 / October 23, 1984 - January 6, 1985 / February 8 - April 2, 1985, cat. 23 (ill.), as The Seine of Port Marly, Piles of Sand, 1875.

London, Royal Academy of Arts, Alfred Sisley, July 3-October 18, 1992, traveled to Paris, Musée d’Orsay and Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, 1992, cat. 33, as The Seine at Port-Marly: Heaps of Sand, 1875.

Washington, DC, Phillips Collection, Impressionists on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party, September 21-February 9, 1997, no cat. no., pl.45, as The Seine of Port Marly, Piles of Sand, 1875.

Tokyo, Isetan Museum, Alfred Sisley Retrospective, 2 March - 17 April 2000; traveled to Takamatsu City Art Museum, Kagawa, 22 April - 21 May; Hiroshima Museum of Art 27 May - 2 July; The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, 8 July - 10 September 2000.

Fort Worth, Tex., Kimbell Museum of Art, The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–November 2, 2008, cat. 16 (ill.).

Publication History

François Daulte, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue Raisonné de l’Oeuvre Peint (Lausanne, 1959), no. 176.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (New York, 1970), p. 83 (ill.), 286.

Stevens, MaryAnne. 2010. “Alfred Sisley – Ecology.” In From Corot to Monet: The Ecology of Impressionism. Exh. cat., pp 78, 80. Skira.

The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London, 2008), cat. 16, p. 53(ill.).

Ownership History

Georges Viau, Paris; his sale, Galeries Durand-Ruel, March 4, 1907, lot 74 (ill.), as La Seine à Port-Marly, 1875; bought in by Durand-Ruel [acc. to London 1992]. Georges Bernheim, Paris, April 1920 [acc. to archival Registrar card]. Martin A. Ryerson (died 1932), Chicago; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1933.

View mobile website