Alfred Sisley Biography
Alfred Sisley was born on October 30, 1839 in Paris. After the Franco-German War financially ruined the Sisley family, Alfred still decided to make painting his full-time career and struggled with poverty for the rest of his life. The consummate landscape painter, made his first trip to London in 1857. It was there that he was inspired by the work of such English landscape painters as Turner, Constable, and Bonnington. He joined other Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir in flouting the strict methods of the École des Beaux-Arts in favour of a more naturalistic and realistic portrayal of his subjects. In 1868, Alfred Sisley's landscape, Avenue of Chestnut Trees near La Celle Saint-Cloud (Southampton), was shown at the prestigious Salon art exhibition. The painting drew upon the soft tonality of Camille Corot and the dramatic massing of Courbet, both of whom were a strong influence on the artist. Sisley displayed six landscapes at the first Impressionist exhibition, and all were largely criticized. Of all of the Impressionist artists of the period, Alfred Sisley was the purest landscape painter. He painted nearly 900 oil paintings and fewer than a dozen were still life and only one or two were genre scenes. The remainder were landscapes spanning from the forest of Fontainebleau and Louveciennes, London to Moret and Wales. He eschewed cityscapes, industrialization and human figures for the serenity of a pastoral setting. Under the patronage of the French baritone Jean-Baptiste Faure, Alfred Sisley was able to return to England in 1874. While there, he painted a series of canvases at Hampton Court, including Molesey Weir, Hampton Court which is remarkably fresh and spontaneous. Alfred Sisley exhibited at the second and third Impressionist exhibitions, but it wasn’t until he received a mention in Georges Rivière's L'Impressioniste...