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The Outskirts of the Fontainebleau Forest

Painting, 1885, 60×73 cm
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Description of the artwork «The Outskirts of the Fontainebleau Forest»

This picture, as two other works of Sisley in this hall, are from Morozov collection. Ivan liked Sisley a lot, because he was a delicate, contemplative, insightful and lyrical artist. Morozov never bargained buying new paintings for his collection in Paris, he chose only those pictures he really liked.

The aim of his collecting was not a right financial investment and reselling pictures for making profit. Relying only on his inherent flawless taste and flair, he made brilliant choices.

It is always interesting to understand what is special about this or that picture that drew the attention of such a highly reputed collector. This landscape can serve as an example.

It sometimes happens that the most technically bold аnd standardly impressionist works are not so famous, and not so big landscapes. It is not a bottomless, overgrown with literary legends Sisley’s Flood at Port-Marly, talking of which it is difficult not to mention biographical details and long interpretations. It is not Degasballerinas, who can be spoken of lots more besides painting, and it is not Mont Sainte-Victoire, which became a place of pilgrimage and an object of protective petitions, because once it was painted by Cezanne. No one would seek Outskirts of the Fontainebleau Forest and no one would open a museum there. This truly fleeting, irretrievable moment will not happen again. Looking at this picture, you can relax and focus only on the painting.

You can begin from where Sisley always used to – from the sky. In one of his letters, he said: "The sky cannot be a mere background. On the contrary, it not only helps to add depth through its planes (for the sky has planes just as the ground does), it also gives movement through its shape. ... I always start a painting with the sky."

These some plans of the deep moving sky are the distinct white brushstrokes. One stroke for each cloud. To the end of the stroke, when the paint on the brush ends, the cloud dissipates. This accuracy is meditative, creative. In such a way Japanese calligraphists finish painting a hieroglyph with the remains of the ink on the brush, without interrupting the movement. And let the picture be special. Every hieroglyph is a blending of the process, result and initial object.
With the same infallible accuracy, Sisley took the necessary amount of black paint with a brush - to draw a line-branch in order to make a cold autumn transparency by the end of the brushstroke. The density of the stroke determines the density of the space. The clods of the grounds and dense bushes are painted in some colorful layers, in rich and volumetric way.

Morozov always sought the necessary pictures, and waited for the moment when something appropriate would fall into his hands. There is a famous history of how he left the empty space, on the wall, clearly understanding that somewhere should be “some blue Cezanne”.

It was a collection without random things. It’s interesting, how Morozov hunted for this picture. Did he have in mind something like: “I need one impeccable, elusive, instantaneous Sisley?”

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1885

Size: 60×73 cm

Artwork in selections: 9 selections

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