Le Sidaner can be distinguished from the older generation of Impressionist artists by the fact that he rarely painted outside. From his everyday scrolls around the city he captured his observations only in rough sketches. Les maisons sur le canal à Douai, painted in 1931, illustrates this ability of the artist to construct atmospheric images with veiled views of the city captured in the calm stillness of twilight. On the edge of the canal, the rays of light coming from a building cast their golden reflection into the undulating structures of the stream. The flat brush work and the fragmented touch smoothly crosses the wavy waters under the misty twilight of the end of the day. The light source suggests the possibility of a human presence in a scene devoid of figurative representation. The soft warmth given by the ocher colors and the tranquility at dusk is a poetic invitation for the viewer to enter the intimacy of this haven of peace.
The painting is close to the composition of François-Hubert Drouais, representing the Marquise de Pompadour sitting in front of her loom held at the National Gallery in London.
There are several autograph replicas of this portrait in bust, the Museum of Fine Arts in Orleans, the Prado Museum in Madrid, and an oval painting on anonymous sale, Monaco, June 26, 1983 (Sotheby's), No. 494 , and another having appeared on the anonymous sale, Paris, June 27, 2013 (Sotheby's), n ° 62.
Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, June 10, 1988 (My Couturier and Nicolay), n ° 57.
Anonymous sale, Neuilly, December 14, 1995 (My Aguttes and Ionesco), n ° 24.
Anonymous auction, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, October 21, 1999, n ° 124.