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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on January 18, 2024
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Discover more about the man behind the art, with a variety of opinions and quotes on the work of Alfred Sisley.

Sisley was an accomplished artist who competed against major names in the Impressionist movement. He received a mixture of responses from them, with Pissarro sometimes deriding his work, just as he did many others'. Sisley was also a British citizen with a French movement, though successfully forged his own path.

Famous Quotes by Alfred Sisley

Is there anything more splendid or thrilling than that [effect] which is frequently found in summer, I mean the blue sky with beautiful clouds, white and drifting. What movement, what allure they have!

It is at Moret, in this thickly wooded countryside with its tall poplars, the waters of the river Loing here, so beautiful, so translucent, so changeable; at Moret my art has undoubtedly developed the most... I will never really leave this little place that is so picturesque.

Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love.

What artists do I Love? To take just the contemporaries: Delacroix, Corot, Millet, Rousseau, Courbet, our masters. All who have loved Nature and felt strongly.

The animation of the canvas is one of the hardest problems of painting.

I always start a painting with the sky.

I like all those painters who loved and had a strong feeling for nature.

Though the artist must remain master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of loveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist.

To give life to the work of art is certainly one of the most necessary tasks of the true artists. Everything must serve this end: form, color, surface. The artist's impression is the life-giving factor, and only this impression can free that of the spectator. And though the artist must remain the master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of liveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist.

Quotes on Alfred Sisley from a Variety of Sources

Sisley seizes the passing moments of the day; watches a fugitive cloud and seems to paint it in its flight; on his canvass (sic) the live air moves and the leaves yet thrill and tremble.

Stéphane Mallarmé

A Cézanne is a moment of the artist while a Sisley is a moment of nature.

Henri Matisse

Since the Impressionist school will hold an important place in the history of the painting of this century and while it has established a universal movement, it is certain that Sisley will never be forgotten.

Jules Leclercq

Yesterday Sisley was looking for me everywhere. Madame Latouche told me that he wanted some information about the technique of painting fans. Well, this means my fans are spoken of.. .I only fear one thing: that they will finally say that's all I am good for! [fans!]

Camille Pissarro

He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air (i.e., outdoors). He deviated into figure painting only rarely and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, he found that Impressionism fulfilled his artistic needs.


[Sisley] has almost a generic character, an impersonal textbook idea of a perfect Impressionist painting.

Robert Rosenblum

Then turned to painting and in 1862 entered the studio of Gleyre, where he met Renoir, Monet and Bazille. He and his friends left about five months later and began to paint out of doors, directly from nature, in the region of Paris and in the Forest of Fontainebleau.


Alfred Sisley was born in Paris of British parents. He lived in France, and occasionally visited England. He trained in the studio of Gleyre in Paris,and became a member of the Impressionist group; his work was close to that of Pissarro and Monet. He mainly painted landscapes.

The National Gallery