Today we celebrate the birthday of Alfred Sisley, the English Impressionist most often overlooked, who was born on October 30th, 1839 in Paris. Both his parents were English, and it has been said that his ancestors had been smugglers on the Kentish coast of the English Channel. Whether that is true or not, his father was quite wealthy and could afford to support Alfred throughout his art studies and then as an artist.
A somewhat shy person, Sisley was never given to the group discussions and hanging out were so central to the development of Impressionism. But this did not prevent him becoming close friends with Monet and offering shelter to his poor friend Renoir in Paris. All was well until the collapse of his father's business due to the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Thereafter he was forced to live off the proceeds of his paintings and spent much of the rest of his life in poverty.
Sisley, having been influenced by the art of Constable and Turner, painted almost exclusively landscapes. If his work contained figures they were always very small or vague. Such is the case here, in his Misty Morning of 1874, sometimes also called Foggy Morning, which is actually a rather untypical work, in both its subject and the subtlety of colors and composition. This painting is done almost exclusively in cool colors, with only small dashes of warmer tones, such as the faint suggestions of the rising sun coming from the bottom left. Like La Touche yesterday, Sisley also uses a variety of different brushstrokes to emphasize various elements of the scene.
All in all, a beautiful and atmospheric painting, perfect for a foggy morning in October.
Find some sunshine today and tread lightly
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Alfred Sisley 1839-1899 Impressionist landscape painter
Alfred Sisley is one of the Impressionists who never considered Impressionism to be not enough for him. He stayed with it throughout his life, and remained a staunch practitioner of outdoor painting. His work is considered to be the academic benchmark for Impressionism.
To recall, Impressionism was an art movement that originated with a group of Paris -based artists. It was during the 1870's and 80's through independent exhibitions that their work burst onto the Parisian art scene, much in the face of the conventional French art community.
What is interesting is the name Impressionism was coined for this provocative style of painting by an art critic after seeing a painting by Claude Monet titled "Impression, soleil" (Impression, sunrise) that he painted in only forty minutes. He wanted to capture as much of the sunlight of the moment as possible.
Monet's race with the sun was only one example of the peculiarities of these men. The other artists of this movement were each said to have had their idiosyncrasies. For some reason, Manet's version of Olympia had his model peering boldly out of the canvas at the audience, which upset Parisian society. It is a painting of a prone, nude prostitute wearing only an orchid in her hair, a bracelet, a ribbon round her neck, and a pair of slippers, all emphasizing her nudity. Beside her stands her black servant, fully dressed, holding a bouquet of flowers, and at Olympia's feet a black cat, all of which were symbols of sexuality at the time. The entire painting had scandal written all over it. Special precautions had to be taken to keep people from destroying it where it hung.
Cezanne produced 60 paintings of Montagne Saint-Victoire that were said to have opened the door to Cubism. Renoir was a lover of women and he painted plenty of them. Cezanne harbored a hatred for barking dogs. Manet was a flamboyant dresser, and Degas was an irritable grump. And together this odd mix of men held in common the single desire to capture the most brilliant images of their world.
It is well worth the time to see the works of these marvelous painters only because there had never been a movement like Impressionism, or a France like the France of this time, and there has not been anything like it since.
#art #treadlightly #artandclassontheplus #EuropeanHistory #europeanpainting #yourdailyartstory #arthistory
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