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Artists Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley Photo

Alfred Sisley

British Painter

Movement: Impressionism

Born: October 30, 1839 - Paris, France

Died: January 1899 - Moret-sur-Loing, France

Alfred Sisley Timeline

Quotes

"I always start a painting with the sky."
Alfred Sisley
"The Animation of the Canvas is one of the hardest problems of painting."
Alfred Sisley
"I like all those painters who loved and had a strong feeling for nature."
Alfred Sisley
"To give life to the work of art is certainly one of the most necessary tasks of the true artists. Everything must serve this end: form, color, 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 the master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of liveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist."
Alfred Sisley
"Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love."
Alfred Sisley
"What artists do I Love? To take just the contemporaries: Delacroix, Corot, Millet, Rousseau, Courbet, our masters. All who have loved Nature and felt strongly."
Alfred Sisley
"A Cézanne is a moment of the artist while a Sisley is a moment of nature."
Henri Matisse
"Since the Impressionist school will hold an important place in the history of the painting of this century and while it has established a universal movement, it is certain that Sisley will never be forgotten..."
Jules Leclercq

"And though the artist must remain the master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of liveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist."

Synopsis

Alfred Sisley is one of Impressionism's most unjustly overlooked artists. This may perhaps be due to the fact that Sisley straddled two different cultures, having been born to English parents in France and later dividing his time between the two countries. As such, though he worked as one of the key figures in French Impressionism, he remained something of an outsider. Unlike many of his peers, who examined urban life, industrialization, and people, Sisley was almost exclusively a painter of landscapes, a subject from which he rarely strayed. What's more, there is a moodiness and distinct colorism in his works that suggest an influence from earlier periods of English and French art, especially the Barbizon school. As such, Sisley created his own unique brand of Impressionism that foreshadowed many of the new painting styles that would emerge in Europe after the turn of the 20th century.

Key Ideas

Sisley's landscapes are known for their uncanny ability to capture a sense of atmosphere and light. This effect is compounded by his big, expressive skies, which are almost always a central feature of his paintings.
Although he is often considered an outsider because of his English citizenship, Sisley trained in Paris with Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, among other greats, and was one of the crucial figures working to create the new style that would become known as Impressionism.
Although Sisley's works are quite beautiful to the modern eye, it is important to remember that his work (like that of all of the Impressionists) was quite radical in its own day. His focus on modern, urban life, his view of nature as a worthwhile subject matter, and his sketchy, "impressionistic" style were all hallmarks of a new painting style for an industrialized world.
Sisley's sensitivity to the subtleties of natural landscapes was striking, allowing him to create landscapes that pulse simultaneously with the seemingly contradictory feelings of physical realism and dreamy emotionalism.

Biography

Alfred Sisley Photo

Childhood

Alfred Sisley was born in Paris, the son of affluent British expatriates. His mother, Felicia Sell, was a music connoisseur, and his father, William Sisley, owned a lucrative business exporting artificial flowers and silk. Felicia and William were cousins, descended from a long line of English smugglers and tradesmen. Alfred was one of four children, one of whom - the eldest brother - died at a young age. Unfortunately, little is known about Alfred's adolescence before he was sent to London in 1857 to study for a career in commerce. While in London, Sisley is said to have spent much of his time visiting the exhibitions of John Constable and J.M.W. Turner at the National Gallery.

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Alfred Sisley Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Alfred Sisley
Interactive chart with Alfred Sisley's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Jean-Baptiste-Camille CorotJean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Henri RousseauHenri Rousseau
Thomas GainsboroughThomas Gainsborough
John ConstableJohn Constable
J.M.W. TurnerJ.M.W. Turner

Personal Contacts

Charles BaudelaireCharles Baudelaire
Émile ZolaÉmile Zola
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Claude MonetClaude Monet

Movements

The Barbizon SchoolThe Barbizon School
The BaroqueThe Baroque
RomanticismRomanticism
RealismRealism

Influences on Artist
Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley
Years Worked: 1862 - 1899
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin
Claude MonetClaude Monet
Gustave CaillebotteGustave Caillebotte

Personal Contacts

Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Émile ZolaÉmile Zola
Claude MonetClaude Monet
Gustave CaillebotteGustave Caillebotte

Movements

Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
Neo-ImpressionismNeo-Impressionism
FauvismFauvism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst
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