(1839 - 1899)
Alfred Sisley was active/lived in France. Alfred Sisley is known for Impressionist seasonal landscape painting.
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Biography from the Archives of askART
An impressionist landscape painter early influenced by the Barbizon
School, Alfred Sisley was born in Paris to English parents. The
father was a successful business person whose company traded with
American southern states. His parents sent him to London to train
for business, but disliking that pursuit, Sisley, in 1862, returned to
Paris and, with his family's support, enrolled at the Académie
Gleyre. There he met future impressionists Jean Renoir, Camille
Pizarro, and Claude Monet, and they met at the Café Guerbois with Paul
Biography from the Archives of askART
During these conversations, Sisley took the rule of neutral mediator
and did paintings that showed strong Barbizon School influence,
especially of Camille Corot. But during these discussions, Monet
developed his theories that evolved into Impressionism. After the
1863 exhibition at the Salon des Refusés where Monet's paintings and
those works similar to Monet's received the description of
Impressionists from a critic, Sisley left Paris with Monet, and they
lived in the suburbs and painted together.
At first Sisley's paintings from these excursions seemed much
influenced by the Barbizon painting of Camille Corot and Charles
Daubigny, and exhibiting in 1867 at the Paris Salon, he still showed
much Barbizon influence. However, by 1870, his paintings had the
quickly executed, short brushstrokes of Impressionism, but his work
differed from Monet's because he was much more interested in depicting
realistic images rather than in Monet's technique of images dissolving
into light and atmospherics. Sisley loved cloud-filled skyscapes,
shimmering water and foliage changing colors with the season, and he
spent much time in the area of Ile-de-France because it offered the
images he loved.
During the Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871, Sisley spent time in London
and through Pizarro, met the art dealer Durand-Ruel, with whom he
formed a marketing agreement for his work. Because of the war,
Sisley's father had lost his business, and without funds, Sisley, for
the first time, became anxious to sell his paintings. To that
point, Sisley had not been interested in selling his paintings,
and because of pursuing this activity later than his peers, his prices
were lower than their throughout his life.
In 1876, he moved to the small village of Moret-sur-Loing, and to the
house where he died of cancer twenty-three years later. The town
dated to medieval times and changed little in appearance from that
period. Because of its charm, Sisley's painting friends including
Monet and Renoir also loved to work in that location.
By the time of his move to Moret-sur-Loing, Sisley was part of the
Impressionist painting group and exhibited with them in 1874, 1876,
1877 and 1882. Monet had the dominating influence on him, but
from Corot, he retained an ongoing interest in skyscapes and seasonal
changes of color. For Sisley, snowscenes also became a favorite
Biography from Modern Art Dealers
Alfred Sisley was a French Impressionist painter who in 1862 joined the studio of Charles Gleyre, which Monet, Renoir and Frederic Bazille also attended. When Gleyre's studio closed in 1863, Sisley went on to paint with Monet, Renoir and Bazille. His first paintings reflect the Barbizon school traditions but with independent style. Sisley's paintings were accepted for the Salons of 1866, 1868, 1870 and he was a member of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
Throughout his painting career, Sisley was principally a landscape painter, notable, during a time while others Impressionists were concerning themselves with the human figure. Sisley did not concern himself with theory, yet his opinions written to the critic Adolphe Travernier in 1893 are relevant to the development of modern art. This quotation serves as an example of his thoughts:
"The animation of the canvas is one of the hardest problems of painting. To give life to the work of art is certainly on of the most necessary tasks of the true artist. Everything must serve this end; form , colour, surface. The artist's impression is the life-giving factor, and only this impression can free that of the spectator. And though the artist must remain master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of liveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possesses the artist."
Alfred Sisley was born in Paris in 1839, the son of a well off British
dealer established in Paris. His father sent him to London, where
he worked in the family business from 1857 to 1861, but Sisley intends
to be a painter rather than a dealer. In spite of his father's
wishes he entered the School of Fine Arts of Paris in 1862, and also
the workshop of Charles Gleyre, where he became friendly with Auguste
Renoir, Claude Monet and Frederic Bazille.
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In 1864, at the same
time as his friends, he left the School of Fine Arts the moment Charles
Gleyre ceased teaching there. He devoted himself to painting in
open-air in the area of Fontainebleau, at Chailly-en-Bière, then in
Marlotte from 1865 to 1866. At this time he was living off the
financial support of his father.
From his very beginnings,
Sisley devoted himself primarily to landscape painting and to lively
representations of village streets or Parisian rivers.
1866, he married Eugènie Lescouezec, a girl of a good family, a model
and florist, and they had two children together. Auguste Renoir
composed a portrait of them in 1868, a painting entitled The engaged couple (known as Alfred Sisley and His Wife).
Sisley spent the last years of his life in simplicity and died in 1899
without having been granted French nationality, which he asked for
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