Alfred Sisley

21.08.2015 |

Episode #9 of the course “Impressionist artists who changed the art world”


Known for his Impressionist landscape paintings, Alfred Sisley was the most consistent of the group of painters that included Renoir and Monet. Unlike his contemporaries, he did not enjoy success at the Paris Salon, and although he received some attention at the independent Impressionist exhibits, his work was often overshadowed as more subtle than other Impressionists. His technique was to paint almost entirely outdoors, which allowed him to better understand the interplay of sunlight and shadow. The active, intensely-colored skies that depict fluidity and motion are one of his identifiable style marks.


9.1 BoatsBoats


9.2 The regattas MoseleyThe regattas Moseley


Sisley’s parents were British citizens residing in France, and he remained a British citizen until his death. Although he only made a few trips to England, Sisley produced some of his best work there. The son of bourgeois parents, Sisley studied business in London before turning to painting in 1862. Because of his parents’ wealth, in times of financial trouble, he was able to rely on a stipend in addition to commissions earned on paintings.

Sisley’s first admission to the Paris Salon came in 1868, but it was not largely successful. By 1874, he joined with other disgruntled artists of the time and coordinated the first Impressionist exhibit. His use of color and perspective in the technique of painting outdoors was new and exciting to many viewers, who found the mood he evoked through his use of detail and differing textures striking and moving.


9.3 La Seine au point du jourLa Seine au point du jour


9.4 Bridge at Hampton Court Bridge at Hampton Court


Some of Sisley’s most well-known paintings include La Seine au point du jour, known for its small dots of paint that create a remarkable texture and use of blurred lines and transitions, and his Bridge at Hampton Court, which uses flattened trees and the detailed line of the bridge to play tricks with the viewer’s perspective. He was prolific, producing 900 paintings before his death in 1899, which makes his work susceptible to fraudulent copies.



“Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love.”


All artworks

Alfred Sisley on WikiArt


Recommended book

“Impressionism: The History, The Artists, The Masterpieces” by V. Kuvatova


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