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Alfred Sisley


Alfred Sisley was a French painter, a landscape painter of English descent, one of the most outstanding representatives of impressionism. He was born October 30 in 1839 in the family of a British merchant who successfully traded silk William Sisley and music connoisseur Felicia Sell.

When the boy was 18 years of age, his parents sent Alfred to London to study commerce, so that the young man could inherit the family business. But in London, Alfred has carried away painting and, after four years of training, returned safely to his native Paris.

In 1862 he began his studies at the Paris School of Fine Arts École des Beaux-Arts, one of the most influential educational institutions in France, where he would meet Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Together with his new friends, Sisley begins to practice drawing outdoors in natural light and natural conditions (fresh air) and depict the scenery of the Seine from Argenteuil to the Marley forests.

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The artist often had to use the material support of his father, because such an approach to painting was unusual for connoisseurs of art at that time and it was hard for young artists to organize exhibitions or sell their works.

In 1866 Sisley married Breton Breast Marie Eugenie Lequesec. From this marriage, two children were born – son Pierre and daughter Jeanne.

His first exhibition appeared only in 1868, but his work went unnoticed, and talent was recognized only after his death.

Until 1880, Sisley lived and worked in a village west of Paris. But from 1880 until his death, Sisley lived in Sea-sur-Loupin.

During his third trip to the UK in 1897, he officially formalizes the marriage with his long-time friend Eugenie Lecuzek. Subsequently, Sisley twice attempted to obtain French citizenship, but without success.

The artist died of throat cancer on January 29, 1899. In poverty and obscurity in the town of More-sur-Loupin, near Fontainebleau at the age of 59, a few months after the death of his wife.

Key Ideas in painting

Alfred Sisley was often compared with Claude Monet. During his life, his works were never estimated, although critics noted that among the Impressionists, Sisley was the most devoted admirer of landscape painting.

Unlike Monet, Sisley never attracted to the sea and the Cote d’Azur. But he adored depicting the countryside landscapes with constantly changing colors and moods. With particular fineness, Alfred Sisley felt and transferred the charm of winter landscapes, the cosiness of small towns, his quiet streets. A peculiar poetic tuning fork of Alfred Sisley’s landscapes is the sky, sometimes cloudless and clear, more often lively with clouds, illuminated by the sun, or the melancholic evening sky, in which the artist saw the “charm of all that goes.”

Famous paintings made by Alfred Sisley

Bridge at villeneuve-la-garenne

1872, Oil on canvas, 49.5 × 65.4 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

Roads and bridges are the stable decorations of many of his paintings. They like other artificial structures, radically change the landscape, evidencing the presence of a person who is “constructing” the world around him.

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Village on the banks of the Seine

1872, oil on canvas, 59.2 x 80 cm, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

” Village on the banks of the Seine” is one of the best creations of early impressionism. Apparently, already in the early 1880s this place began to lose its charm. Recently, the painting “Town of Villeneuve-la-Garenne” was called “The Village on the Banks of the Seine,” although it depicted exactly this town, which is now the suburb of Paris.

The seine at Argenteuil

1872, oil on canvas, 50 x 73 cm, Private Collection

Sisley always tried to live near rivers, so the water, which, it seems, was in love with the artist, is an indispensable element of his paintings, anyway its manifestation, whether it is snow or rain.

Grapes in a basket

1876, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 46 cm, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown,USA

Sisley, as we already know, is famous as a landscape painter, but on the extension of his creative activity he also produced several still-lifes.

The seine at bougival

1876, Oil on canvas, 60×81 cm, Paris, France.

To the masterpieces of impressionistic painting, with which this genre is vividly portrayed, Sisley’s painting “Flood in Port-Mali” is included.

The flood that occurred in the early spring of 1872 affected Sisley so much that it inspired him to create a series of works on the topic of flooding.

Snow at louveciennes

1878, Oil on canvas, 61*50.5 cm,  Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

Snow is an object that can be well poetic interpretation. For the impressionists, this topic became popular and was often the main motive in their work. For Sisley, the village in the winter had an unusual appeal, since its character of the hermit was ideally suited to capture the sadness of a frozen nature. Alfred Sisley achieved an amazing result, in the image of frosty air, the technique of the artist in this area could not be mastered even by his most eminent colleagues.

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