Born to British parents in Paris, Sisley met his fellow future Impressionists, Frédéric Bazille and Claude Monet, in the early 1860s, and he would adhere to the Impressionist approach throughout his career. Sisley primarily painted landscapes, and only nine of his nearly 900 paintings are still lifes. He and Bazille worked closely together in 1866–67, and during that time Bazille painted a still life with a pike similar to this later work by Sisley. It is possible that Sisley remembered Bazille’s example when he painted this canvas, or he may simply have been inspired to take up his brush at the sight of a magnificent fresh water pike being readied for dinner. The bouquet of herbs nearby suggest that this fish was to be simply poached in the traditional manner rather than readied in the more elaborate preparation needed for the culinary classic of quenelles of pike.
Le Brochet (The Pike), 1888
Oil on canvas
Gift in honor of Helene and Mark Eisner, by exchange, 2005.7.1