Born on October 30, 1839 in Paris, France
to English parents, his father was a well-off merchant who traded
with the southern states of America
and sent Alfred off to London
to find a career in business. Finding this
not to his liking, young Sisley returned to Paris in the summer of 1862 with the sole goal of becoming an artist.
Unlike many young artists, Sisley had the full support of his parents and the benefit of money to back him. Armed with
these two things, Alfred was sent to Charles Gleyre
to study his new craft until his studio closed in 1864.
It was there that he first met Renoir, Monet, and Bazille, champions of the Impressionist movement that Sisley would
eventually become associated. He spent some time painting with these three in Fontainebleau at Chailly and later
at Marlotte with Renoir. At this time his style was greatly influenced by Courbet and Daubigny and when he
first exhibited at the Salon he was the pupil of Corot.
Between the late 1860's and the early 1870's some significant changes occurred in Sisley's life. He increasingly
spent time at the Cafe Guerbois, which acted as a focal point for young Impressionist artists. As a consequence,
Sisley found his style more and more influenced by the notions which were creating Impressionism. It was during this time
that Alfred was introduced to Durand-Ruel, a notable art dealer of the time, and became part of his stable. It
was also during this time of growth and evolution as an artist that his father lost all of his money during the
Franco-Prussian war. Entrusted with a family to support, Sisley would be reduced to a state of penury, which
he would stay until virtually the end of his life.
Alfred now considered himself a professional painter and fully part of the Impressionist group, exhibiting
with them in 1874, 1876, 1877, and 1882. His earlier influences disappearing from his work, he was achieving
complete independence, although towards the end of the 70's, Monet started to have some considerable sway
over him. Sisley is perhaps known best for his passionate interest in the sky, which nearly always plays an
integral part to his paintings, and his effect of snow, the two interest often combining to create a strangely
dramatic effect. Although, of all his friends in the group, he was the most unlucky and
experienced only indifference from the public until the end.
In the 1880's, he moved out of Paris proper and for the rest of his life enjoyed painting the surrounding area and countryside.
He moved to Moret-sur-Loing and later to Moret itself where he exhibited an immense pleasure in painting various portions
of the city. It was here that he created some of his most recognized pieces La Seine a Bougival, Flood at Port-Marly, and
Moret-sur-Loing. It was also here that Sisley would eventually die of throat cancer on January 29th, 1899. Of all his
friends in the group, he was the most unlucky and experienced only indifference from the public and it was unfortunate that he
did not receive something approaching the recognition he deserved until after he passed away.
"Every picture shows a spot in which the artist himself has fallen in love." - Alfred Sisley