These are the 12 most famous paintings by Alfred Sisley, whose landscape paintings occupy an undisputed place in the history of early impressionism. He was born in the United Kingdom, however, spent his adult life in France. He painted villages, roads, and hills and had a fascination for snowy scenes that provide a subtle and gentle light followed by a sense of peace and quiet.
Avenue of Chestnut Trees Near La Celle-Saint-Cloud (1867)
This picturesque pre-impressionist landscape is one of the most famous paintings by Alfred Sisley and takes place in the woods of La Celle-Saint-Cloud, a commune in north-central France. Unfortunately, this painting was refused by the Pairs Salon, however, after a decade, it was purchased by an art collector.
Molessey Weir (1874)
As Sisley preferred painting water, this work of his perfectly depicts its elusiveness. The people on the left, the group of bathers, provide a sense of scale and depict regular people enjoying their day by the river.
Regatta at Molesey (1874)
This is a painting of Molesey Regatta, an event on the river Thames that attracts rowing clubs from around the United Kingdom and is active since 1873. During his stay in England, which was funded by the art collector Jean-Baptiste Faure, it is noticeable that Sisley’s paintings became more radiant and festive.
Women Going to the Woods (1866)
This painting was created during Sisley’s and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s stay at the village of Marlotte, a commune in north-central France. This village was an inspiration not only for Sisley and Renoir but also for Paul Cezanne who lived there. The people depicted are local villagers, and Sisley gives the observer freedom to fantasize about their everyday lives. This was the first Sisley painting to be accepted by the Salon’s jury.
The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne (1872)
The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, a commune in the suburbs of Paris, was shown by Sisley in a high-keyed color. The stone and cast-iron bridge is in contrast with the soft sunlight on the Sienne. Again, his landscape was revived by a representation of individuals enjoying good weather.
Drying Nets (1872)
This is one of the earliest impressionist paintings, and as his other works, depicts a commune Villeneuve-la-Garenne. In the background, behind the Sienne shore, is a bridge, another repeating motif of his. This painting provides a tranquil atmosphere for local villagers and fishermen, drying their nets during the fishing season.
The Seine at Argenteuil (1872)
In this painting, the artist used green and brown tones to depict the River Sienne in the northwest Parisian suburbs. The calm atmosphere of everyday life and people living in tune with nature in this village was an inspiration for many other artists, such as Monet, Manet, and Renoir – Renoir also painted The Seine at Argenteuil.
Under Hampton Court Bridge (1874)
This painting shows the third construction of the Hampton Court Bridge which crosses the river, Thames. Geographically, it is located downstream from Sisley’s other inspiration – Molesey Lock. The heavy iron construction of the bridge is emphasized by the brown and auric colors. On the left side of the painting, there are rowers, while between the bridge columns on the right it is possible to see locals enjoying themselves on the shore.
The Lesson (1874)
Judging by the shown clock, this impressionistic painting titled The Lesson depicts two diligent and concentrated children, a boy, and a girl, studying in the afternoon. Using thick paint, harsher lines, and darker tones, Sisley chose to show a silent and study-focused atmosphere in which we, as observers, can only imagine the sound of the ticking clock.
Apples and Grapes in a Basket (1876)
This still-life painting can be considered one of Sisley’s exceptions. Even though he was considered and known as a painter of landscapes, during his lifetime he painted a small number of stills. Darker tones and ripe grapes and apples indicate late summer or early autumnal times.
A Street in Moret
With blue and rose tones of the sky that takes up half of the painting, Alfred Sisley depicts in A Street in Moret serenity and calmness, bringing the street to life. This gentle atmosphere and peaceful streets together with inhabitants in long coats indicate that it is early morning or late afternoon. This painting makes the observer feel serenity.
The Church at Moret in Morning Sun
Another painting was inspired by the same commune – Moret. This time, Sisley depicts the sun-bathed church of Notre Dame. He was so inspired by the church that he painted a series of it at different times and seasons of the year – in the Afternoon and Evening Sun, Winter, Morning Rain, and after Rain. He observed the church’s west entrance and the southern wall from the house he stayed in across the church.
What famous paintings by Alfred Sisley do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.