A son of the Swiss painter Henri Silvestre, after studying at the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Industrial Arts in Geneva, Albert Silvestre went to live in Paris from 1892 to 1995. He was a member of the Federal Art Commission, and would later become president of the Society of Swiss Painters, Sculptors and Architects until 1922.
A landscape painter with a predilection for Savoy, Valais, Lake Geneva and Lake Neuchâtel, in many of his works the symbolist influences of Ferdinand Hodler, Albert Trachsel but above all Édouard Vallet can be discerned. Like Vallet, Silvestre too was not a devoted supporter of the atmospheric rendering of reality according to the Impressionist doctrine, however he did not fully support the suggestions of symbolism either. These were the assumptions which, at the end of the nineteenth century, would lead to the concept of the “landscape of the soul”.
It is in this context that this poetic oil on canvas depicting a sunrise over Lemàno, Lake Geneva, his birthplace, fits. A blue horizon line separates the lake from the sky. Loaded brushstrokes draw the outlines of a cloud that has absorbed all the pink tones of dawn, leaving room for some flashes of a more lively colour. Lying low, in line with the waters of the lake in which it is reflected, the cloud is the true protagonist of this refined landscape.
It is a painting which hosts fascinating mystical suggestions, daughters of the profound transformation that landscape painting had already undergone since the end of the eighteenth century. A new type of landscape, not naturalistic, not a simple reproduction of a natural glimpse, but a mystical-philosophical expression, by virtue of the direct and profound link between nature and human feelings.