Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Alfred Sisley

Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Alfred Sisley

Alfred Sisley was born and lived in France for most of his life, but inherited British nationality from his father and never received French citizenship. Although he was raised in Paris, he lived in the outskirts of the city for most of his life, finally settling near Fontainebleau in 1880.

Key piece to look for: Seine at Bougival (La Seine à Bougival), 1873

Sisley is known for his landscape paintings of the countryside around Paris. His compositions, with their low horizon lines, emphasize the sky, as he saw this as the unifying element of the painting. Although he usually depicted buildings, bridges, and boats among his landscapes, human figures are represented often as compositional elements, suggesting depth, scale, and perspective. After his first experience painting en plein­ air with Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1863 near the forests at Fontainebleau, Sisley fell in love with landscape painting, devoting himself to capturing the varying effects of atmosphere, mood, season, and light for the rest of his career.

Image credit: Alfred Sisley, Seine at Bougival (La Seine à Bougival), 1873, oil on canvas, 12 3/4 x 18 1/8 in. Collection of Frederic C. Hamilton.

Laura Barton is an intern in the Denver Art Museum's education department. Her favorite artwork on view right now is Louis Anquetin's Avenue de Clichy (Street-Five O'clock in the Evening).