The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain Alfred Sisley Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on January 19, 2024
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The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain is an 1875 painting by Alfred Sisley which is part of the permanent collection of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, USA.


Sisley was passionate about the French countryside and loved to travel around capturing its beauty in a series of sketchbooks, as well as fully formed oil paintings. It is important to remember that the artist would continue to work for two more decades after completing The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain, and so this work offers a relatively fresh insight into his career.

The reduced palette indicates the style of Sisley. He was subtle and consistent, not seeking the boldness of the likes of Monet, but covering similar content. Some have approved of this calm approach, others not, and there remains a place for Sisley within the history of Impressionist art.


This unusual composition captures a bending path or road, almost hidden to us by a row of trees which enjoy an abundance of leaves. This dense flurry of green tones covers most of the left hand side of the work, with further green stretching across the lower half. An opening to the right hand side allows Sisley to insert his standard skies, with a flat tone of blue with fluffy white clouds placed evenly in the distance.

There are some signs of life within this work, with a young lady sat within the long grass to the right hand side. A small bonnet is worn alongside a light blue garment, though her detail is left somewhat blurrd - in line with the standard approach taken by most Impressionists.

Whilst some might be surprised by the choice of content and angle selected by Sisley, he was an artist who worked outdoors, and loved to tackle nature from different angles. He was perhaps appreciative of the weather on that day, and added a vineyard in the far distance for those able to view the painting up close. The palette for this artwork is distinctly limited, enabling the artist to work with just a few oils on his person.

Level of Detail

Some Impressionist experts have argued that this painting is less evolved than some of his other works, but Sisley seemed satisfied and presented this artwork as a completed piece. This movement always tried to avoid overworking artworks, and any blurred features allowed the viewer's mind to wander. Indeed, for many this was the true genius of the group, after extraordinary accuracy had been delivered in previous centuries.

Artist's Travels

Sisley would relocate several times within the 1870s. He was always in need to new inspiration for his work, but also had to consider accomodation budgets, as he was by no means a rich man. He found a region of France which had all he needed, and was happy to move relatively short distances from one location to the next, consistently finding just the right types of content for his work.

Painting Details

The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain is sized at 51.1 × 65.1 cm, which is entirely typical for this artist. He was not an artist who placed huge amounts of refined detail within his works, and so rarely made use of large canvases or wide palettes. The painting resides in the The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles as part of their European Impressionist collection. Naturally, the artwork was completed as oil on canvas, with perhaps some initial lines of pencil in order to lay out the composition. The artist signed the painting with his surname and the year.

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The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain in Detail Alfred Sisley The Road from Versailles to Saint-Germain in Detail by Alfred Sisley