Waterways in the delightful landscapes of Alfred Sisley

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Maritime Art, Culture and History

Born in Paris to British parents, Alfred Sisley belonged to the group of artists that started French Impressionism in the 19th century. His work, however, has not received the universal attention that it deserves. The New York Times dubbed him in a 1999 article “The Invisible Man of Impressionism”.

Sisley (30 October 1839 – 29 January 1899) almost exclusively created landscapes. His paintings, though lacking the flair and exuberance of Claude Monet, have a laid-back charm. Some of them may strike one as a bit staid.  Even so, they are refreshingly beautiful. And they leave no doubt about Sisley’s gift of conveying atmosphere and light in a way that should appeal to modern-day viewers.

 

Though the artist must remain master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of loveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist.

— Alfred Sisley

The following is a small collection of landscapes selected from the hundreds that Sisley painted. Click on the images to magnify them. For a detailed bio of the artist, click here.

View of the Canal Saint-Martin, 1870
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Seine at Port-Marly, Piles of Sand, 1875
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Bridge at Sèvres, 1877
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of Tate
Licence: CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

The Loing at Saint-Mammès, 1882
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The Bridge in Moret in the Morning Light, 1888
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of The York Project (2002), DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH, via Wikimedia Commons

Les moulins de Moret–Hiver, 1890
Oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)
Courtesy of Christie’s

KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING


Depiction of the artist’s impression of reality rather than a faithful rendering of it

Short brush strokes and small colour patches to convey a sense of movement

Rejection of formal composition in favour of a more “spontaneous” look

Blurring of contours and boundaries with use of colour instead of black lines

Focus on the transient effects of sunlight

Often painted outdoors (en plein air)

~ Barista Uno

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