Alfred Sisley

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Alfred Sisley, 1882
Signature of Alfred Disley

Alfred Arthur Sisley (born October 30, 1839 in Paris , † January 29, 1899 in Moret-sur-Loing ) was an English impressionist painter who lived and worked in France.


Sisley was born in France to the English couple William Sisley and Felicia Sell. He retained British citizenship all his life. His father was a merchant and made a fortune trading with South America . After school, Alfred was sent to London in 1857 to learn the trade. But he preferred to be an artist, so he returned to Paris in 1862 and entered the studio of the painter Charles Gleyre , where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet . He remained friends with both of them all his life.

Auguste Renoir : A Couple in the Green ( Les Fiancés ), around 1868, oil on canvas

In June 1866 he began a relationship with Marie Lescouezec, also known as Eugénie Lescouezec. The relationship resulted in two children. The couple finally married in 1897. An intimate depiction of a couple that Renoir painted around 1868 is often interpreted as a portrait of the two; however, this connection is not certain. The painting is in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne .

Sisley's first artistic role models were the English landscape painters of the early 19th century, such as William Turner , John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington , whose paintings he met in London, and later the French painters Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet . In the Paris Salon of 1867 he exhibited his own painting for the first time, but from around 1870 onwards he increasingly turned to the Impressionists and their style of painting.

In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871 the Sisley family lost their fortune, which until then had also served to support Alfred. Sisley remained penniless from then until his death, even if he was able to sell some pictures, and a. to Édouard Manet and to the singer Jean-Baptiste Faure . It was thanks to this circumstance and the support of the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel and the critic Théodore Duret that Sisley was able to keep his family and himself afloat and at least buy painting utensils and colors.

In 1874 he took part in the First Impressionist Exhibition with five landscape paintings. In 1879, driven by financial hardship, he tried the salon again, which ended in failure: the picture he submitted was rejected by the jury. In 1882 he took part for the last time, with 27 paintings, in a group exhibition of the Impressionists.

Sisley was - in contrast to other impressionists - as shy, Vincent van Gogh called him in a letter to his brother the most shy and gentle of the impressionists . During his lifetime he never achieved the artistic attention he deserved.

From 1895 he was later found to have suffered from cancer of the larynx, of which he finally died in 1899. Both Renoir and Monet came to his funeral. Shortly before his death, Camille Pissarro wrote about him: “He is a great and wonderful artist. In my opinion he is equal to the most important masters. "

To the work

Sisley's depictions of the Seine and its bridges in the Parisian suburbs of the time are particularly famous . In contrast to Renoir and Monet, who often painted the same motifs as Sisley, landscapes and places are depicted in him in moments of calm. "The landscape seems to have fallen into a trance because of its own beauty, only the sky and the water are in motion." His pictures are "... remarkable because of the wonderful colors of green, pink, purple, pigeon blue and cream". Over the years, strength, expression and color intensity increased in Sisley's pictures. Until his death, Sisley remained true to the Impressionist style in his own powerful painting style.

Works (selection)

image title Originated Size, material Exhibition / collection / owner
Allee de chataigniers - Alfred Sisley.jpg Chestnut avenue in the Celle-Saint-Claude 1865 125 × 205 cm, oil on canvas Musée du Petit Palais in Paris
Alfred Sisley - Street of Marlotte aka Women Going to the Woods.jpg Strait of Marlotte 1866 65 × 92 cm, oil on canvas Artizon Museum in Tokyo
Alfred Sisley 026.jpg First snow in Louveciennes 1870 54 × 73 cm, oil on canvas Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Sisley-Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne.jpg Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne 1872 ??, Oil on canvas Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
Alfred Sisley 023.jpg Village on the banks of the Seine 1872 59.2 × 80 cm, oil on canvas Hermitage in Saint Petersburg
Alfred Sisley 043.jpg Pump machine house in Marly 1873 46 × 65 cm, oil on canvas Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen
Alfred Sisley The Road to Hampton Court 1874 Neue Pinakothek Munich Munich.JPG The road to Hampton Court 1874 Oil on canvas New Pinakothek in Munich
Alfred Sisley 009.jpg Hampton Court Bridge 1874 46 × 61 cm, oil on canvas Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne
Alfred Sisley 066.jpg Under the bridge at Hampton Court 1874 50 × 76 cm, oil on canvas Art museum in Winterthur
Alfred Sisley 062.jpg Flood in Port-Maly 1876 60 × 80 cm, oil on canvas Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen
Alfred Sisley 065.jpg Banks of the Seine in autumn 1879 46 × 65 cm, oil on canvas Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt am Main
Alfred Sisley 057.jpg Still life, grapes and nuts around 1880 38 × 55.5 cm, oil on canvas Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Alfred Sisley 032.jpg Houses on the banks of the Loing 1889 33 × 41 cm, oil on canvas Private collection
Alfred Sisley 064.jpg Bank of the Loing near Moret 1892 73 × 92 cm, oil on canvas Private collection
Alfred Sisley 042.jpg Loing channel 1892 60 × 74 cm, oil on canvas Musée d'Orsay in Paris
Alfred Sisley 038.jpg Moret Church 1893 65 × 81 cm, oil on canvas Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen
Alfred Sisley 020.jpg The straw rents 1895 60 × 73 cm, oil on canvas Acquavella Galleries Collection in Hamburg


  • Alfred Sisley - The true impressionist. From the Heydt Museum , Wuppertal, September 13, 2011 to January 29, 2012.


  • Bruce Bernard (Ed.): The Great Impressionists. Revolution in painting. Delphin, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-7735-5323-4 .
  • Raymond Cogniat: Sisley. Südwest-Verlag, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-517-00759-5 .
  • Vivienne Couldrey: Alfred Sisley. The English Impressionist. David & Charles, Newton Abbot, Devon 1992, ISBN 0-7153-9920-9 .
  • François Daulte: Alfred Sisley. Schuler, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-7796-5051-7 .
  • François Daulte: Sisley - les seasons. Bibliothèque des Arts, Paris a. a. 1992, ISBN 2-85047-184-4 .
  • Gerhard Finckh : Alfred Sisley - the true impressionist. Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal 2011, ISBN 978-3892020806 , exhibition catalog.
  • Carola Lepping: Homage to Sisley. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2004, ISBN 3-8334-1878-8 .
  • Jean Leymarie, Michel Melot: French Impressionists. The graphic work of Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Sisley. Hirmer, Munich 1972, ISBN 3-7774-2490-0 .
  • Richard Shone: Sisley. Phaidon Press, London 1999, ISBN 0-7148-3892-6 .


  • Alfred Sisley. The volatility of the moment. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 28:52 min., Script and director: Werner Raeune, production: 3sat , ZDF , first broadcast: October 7, 2012 on 3sat, synopsis by ARD , online video available until September 2, 2020.

Web links

Commons : Alfred Sisley  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sisley, Alfred ,
  2. a b Snapshot • Auguste Renoir • A couple in the country, around 1868. In: Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud , accessed on September 11, 2019.
  3. Beate Eickhoff: Alfred Sisley is coming! The big Wuppertal Sisley exhibition opens its doors today. In: , September 10, 2011.
  4. Bruce Bernard, The Great Impressionists , p. 94
  5. ibid, p. 91
  6. ibid
  7. ^ Exhibition: Alfred Sisley - the Impressionist. In: Von der Heydt-Museum  / , 2011, accessed on September 11, 2019
  8. ^ Anne Grages: Alfred Sisley: Pictures like delicate poems. In: Westdeutsche Zeitung , September 6, 2011.