Alfred Sisley

The Path to the Old Ferry at By


On loan

ACMI (Melbourne, Australia): Pudong

Alfred Sisley 1839–1899
Original title
Le Chemin du vieux bac à By
Oil paint on canvas
Frame: 700 × 848 × 99 mm
support: 498 × 651 mm
Bequeathed by Montague Shearman through the Contemporary Art Society 1940

Display caption

By is a village a few miles north-west of Moret, where Sisley lived from 1880 onward. The village on the opposite bank is Champagne. A ferry across the river was in operation until 1864 and again between 1870 and 1872. Three washerwomen can be seen in this work. This was a common sight on this stretch of the river as can be seen in another picture painted close by, titled 'Washerwomen near Champagne'.

Gallery label, August 1993

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Catalogue entry

Alfred Sisley 1839-1899

N05144 Le Chemin du Vieux Bac à By (The Path to the Old Ferry at By) 1880

Inscribed 'Sisley' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 25 5/8 (50 x 65)
Bequeathed by Montague Shearman through the CAS 1940
Prov: With Durand-Ruel, Paris (purchased from the artist 21 June 1882); W.J. Dorflinger, New York, 1901; with Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1927; A. Chartol, Paris, 1928; with Galerie Zak, Paris; with Redfern Gallery, London; Montague Shearman and Sir Rex de C. Nan Kivell, London; Montague Shearman, London
Exh: The Masters of the Modern French School, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC, February-March 1911 (44); International Exhibition of Modern Art (The Armory Show), New York, February-March 1913 (507); Paintings by Alfred Sisley (1840-1899) , Durand-Ruel, New York, January 1921 (6); Sisley, Durand-Ruel, New York, April-May 1927 (20); Tableaux de Sisley, Durand-Ruel, Paris, February-March 1930 (32); The Montague Shearman Collection, Redfern Gallery, London, April-May 1940 (24); The Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, National Gallery, London, April-May 1942 (125); A Selection from the Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, CEMA touring exhibition, September 1942-September 1943 (87); Acquisitions of the CAS, Tate Gallery, September-October 1946 (71a)
Lit: François Daulte, Alfred Sisley (Paris 1959), No.398, p.174, repr. p.175 (dated 1880)
Repr: Jean Cassou, Die Impressionisten und ihre Zeit (Lucerne 1953), pl.32 in colour; George Besson, Masters of French Painting, 1850-1950 (London 1958), p.34 in colour

By is a village three or four miles north-west of Moret; the village on the opposite bank is Champagne. Another picture (Daulte No.466) painted a little further forward and looking down the Seine to the left is in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Entitled 'Washerwomen near Champagne', it shows women washing their clothes in the river where the path turns to the left; three washerwomen can also be seen in this work. The site is only a short distance from that of N04843.

The ferry, taking people across the river to Champagne, was in operation until 1864 and from 1870 to 1872.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.691-2, reproduced p.691

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