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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.
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