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Approximately fifty paintings are recorded in the Daulte Sisley Catalogue Raisonne as being painted in 1873. Of these fourteen are in museums. And four appear to portray a winter’s landscape not in snow.
Many of Sisley’s paintings contain figures dotted about the landscape. But it is the landscape and its determining skies, which thrill him with their beauty and infinite variety of mood. So that often, his figures seem anonymous elements in the overall design. A token presence signifying, subconsciously perhaps, the transitoriness of human beings passing through nature.
This appears to be the only landscape in the Catalogue Raisonne, in which there is a couple, centrally placed. And around whom the whole mood and composition - and therefore meaning - of the painting revolve.
The closeness of the two figures. The grey shawl drawn about the woman. The spot of warmth upon her head. All evoke a touching, very possibly, unique portrait by the artist, of a couple returning home - their quiet unity and isolation accentuated by the blustery winter landscape. Is this for Sisley, a rare and oblique metaphor for life?
The particular magic and beauty of this tender picture, lie in its hint of human love which the artist has, with subtle mastery, set against the chill of a winter’s afternoon, a last golden burst of sunlight. And the mysterious bluish haze arising from the earth.