The originally English Sisley was part of the core group of the Impressionists which painting in the nineteenth century radically revamped.
Sisley was born in 1839 in Paris from affluent English parents. He went to study in London, with the idea that he later like his father would go into business. In England, his interest in painting, however, aroused by the works of Constable and Turner. When he was 23, he returned to France and with the support of his father, he began to concentrate on painting.
The banks of the Seine
Sisley went to work in the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met Monet, Bazille and Renoir. The foursome felt none of them much affinity with Gleyre, but it was Monet that caused the final rupture. The four went for a time together, worked and traveled together. Sisley met Corot, who had a great influence on him. In 1866 Sisley was first admitted to the Salon, as a pupil of Corot. During the Franco-Prussian war Sisley moved temporarily to England. The death of his father came as a shock to Sisley, partly because it revealed that the family business was bankrupt. Sisley was the first painting to life and to provide for the maintenance of his family. Pissarro introduced him to the art dealer Durand-Ruel.
The Bois de Boulogne
Sisley exhibited his work at the first Impressionist exhibition. The exhibition received very negative reviews, but still, 21 of his works sold. However, they brought very little and Sisley was greatly disappointed. Sisley lived in poverty and was dependent on the help of his friends to come around anyway. To Sisley cheaper to live moved away from Paris, in the outlying areas. This gave him the opportunity to paint the landscapes where he excelled. His work shows the strong influence of Corot, almost always at the sky central to his landscapes. Another interest was snow, also inspired by Corot and Sisley often combined both things. The art dealer Durand-Ruel was a lover of the Impressionists and in the eighties, he managed to gain a foothold with the Impressionist works. He held an exhibition in New York and slowly started to sell better the work of Sisley.
Morning in September
After his outstanding works from the 70s and 80s, Sisley was then obsessed with the technique of painting. He was a difficult man and made feuds with Monet and broke ties with Durand-Ruel, to whom he owed his first successes. At the end of his life, Sisley was seriously ill and he died on 29th January, 1899. He was the only one of the impressionists where the real success came only after his death.