Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center

Alfred Sisley

The son of English parents, Alfred Sisley was born in Paris. Although he traveled and painted in London and other locales, the majority of his work reflects the countryside outside Paris. An original member of the Impressionists, Sisley received only minimal recognition for his talent while living. As is true of many great artists, the amount of respect and recognition afforded his work has grown since his passing.

Sisley met Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet when all were studying under the Parisian artist Charles Gleyre. His early student works were conventional subjects in darkened shades; however, eventually influenced by his peers, his palette brightened and brushstrokes loosened. Repeated disagreements between Gleyre and his students over stylistic differences prompted the three friends to break away and paint together in the manner that suited them. The result was revolutionary – the result was Impressionism.

It was not for lack of talent that Sisley was “less celebrated” than his fellow artists; his personality was more subtle and less daring that those of his charismatic peers.

In life and in subject matter, Sisley was drawn to the fragile and transient. His favorite part of any landscape was the sky, of which he said, “It has the charm of things which disappear and I love it particularly.”

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