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Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)


Born October 30, 1839, in Paris, France, to English parents. Of the artists who exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, it was Alfred Sisley who was the purest landscape painter. In an oeuvre of almost 900 oil paintings he produced less than a dozen still lifes and only one or two genre scenes. All of his remaining works are landscapes, and throughout his career he favored the same kind of environment whether in the forest of Fontainebleau, in Louveciennes, London, Moret, or Wales. His works tend to be calm with little attention paid to cityscapes or recent industrialization. They are often devoid of people, any figures or staffage in them being used as compositional devices or perhaps narrative elements rather than as a means of representing a humanized landscape. Sisley died on January 29, 1899 of throat cancer.