Alfred Sisley: Seven Landscapes

9 Mar

Alfred Sisley, Watering Place at Marly (1875)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

First of all — today is my daughter Emily’s sixteenth birthday.  Happy birthday, Emily!

With Spring just around the corner my thoughts turn naturally to the great Impressionist Alfred Sisley.  All the Impressionists owe a debt to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, but none more than Sisley.  I love Sisley’s beautiful compositions and impeccable sense of color.  His palette walks a fine line — to my eye the ideal line — between the exuberance of Impressionism and the restraint of the Barbizon School.  I can think of very few painters whose subtle coloring is on a par with that of Sisley.

Alfred Sisley, Footbridge at Argenteuil (1872)

Alfred Sisley, A Turn in the Road (1885)

Sisley was a close friend of both Renoir and Monet and painted with them often.  Like Corot, Sisley was very well liked and his approach to painting was deeply meditative — little concerned with politics or social issues.  I appreciate that.  Every time I start another painting of Gethsemani Abbey I think how at home Sisley would be with that subject.  More than the other Impressionists there is a purely spiritual quality to his work.

Alfred Sisley, Orchard in Spring (1881)

Alfred Sisley, A Path in Louveciennes (1876)

In his lifetime Sisley enjoyed less popular success than the other Impressionists, and a few modern critics find fault with him for sticking with Impressionism and avoiding social commentary.  I see it differently.  Sisley was on his own mission — a contemplative journey for which Impressionism was the ideal means of expression.

Alfred Sisley, Foggy Morning, Voisins (1874)

Alfred Sisley, Langland Bay, Storr’s Rock, Morning (1897)

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