Happy birthday Alfred Sisley!

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Portrait of Alfred Sisley by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (ca. 1875)

Alfred Sisley (October 30, 1839—January 29, 1899) was a French-born painter of English descent. He was a member of the French Impressionists, alongside the likes of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and others. He painted many of his works "en plein air," or outdoors.

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Sisley was born in Paris to William Sisley and Felicia Sell. His parents were English, and he was sent to London to study business, but after four years returned to Paris. In Paris, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. This is where he learned to paint in open air, which was innovative for the time. However, the public was not ready for the types of luminescent paintings that were often produced. Sisley's paintings weren't accepted to Paris' annual Salon until 1868, the main measure of critical success in France.

Sisley had been supported by his father, but after the Franco-Prussian War, his father's business failed and Sisley went on to spend the rest of his life in relative poverty.

Once he began supporting himself just from painting sales, he met painters Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille, and Camille Pissarro, the last of whom his style came to be most aligned with. (Image source)

Sisley did receive some backing from patrons, allowing him to travel to Britain on occasion. He did this first in 1874, when he produced a series of works depicting the Upper Thames. He returned a handful of other times to Britain, painting Langland Bay and Rotherslade Bay, among other landscapes.

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Molesey Weir-Morning

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Lane Near a Small Town

Some say Sisley was overshadowed by Monet. He is often thought of as a "textbook" Impressionist.

Some of Sisley's best known works include Street in Moret,

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Sand Heaps,

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The Bridge at Moret-sur-Loing,

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and Allée des peupliers de Moret.

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Many of his paintings were characterized by a focus on the sky and snow.

Sisley did not receive much recognition until the end of his life. He produced 900 oil paintings, around 100 pastels, and countless other drawings.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 30 October 2014
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