The bridge at Moret (Le pont de Moret)
Oil painting on canvas by Alfred Sisley, 1893
73 x 92 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Born in Paris in 1839, Alfred Sisley is a British artist painter and engraver, attached to the Impressionist movement and living and working mainly in France. He will be admitted to the Salon of French Artists in 1866, 1868 and 1870.
The pictorial language of Alfred Sisley has always been strongly in keeping with Impressionism, but he has also always shown his attachment to his first inspirers, Jean-Baptiste Corot and Charles-François Daubigny. Sisley is exclusively a landscape painter, one who, with Claude Monet, best sought and succeeded in expressing the most subtle nuances of nature in the Impressionist landscapes. His paintings show his keen interest in the colorful impressions of trees and buildings, and the changing play of light and clouds above the landscape.
Through his landscapes, he also puts himself in the tradition of John Constable, Richard Parkes Bonington and William Turner. What distinguishes him, however, is his constant discretion, the sensitivity of his inspiration, his taste for peaceful landscapes. There has always been a lot of humility in his attempt to transcribe on the canvas the enchantment he felt in front of real situations and landscapes.
Some have seen in it a lack of artistic personality, his thematic range being effectively restricted to landscapes, in which it’s the characters who sometimes are used as decor. Yet Sisley’s paintings suggest a positive atmosphere of beauty, clearness and lightness, and represent a high degree of impressionist achievement.
Alfred Sisley died in 1899 in Moret-sur-Loing, of which he had painted, since 1880, many landscapes. With him disappeared the only great painter of the Impressionist group not to have really met success in his lifetime, despite the moral and financial support shown by the art dealers Paul Durand-Ruel and Georges Petit, and their efforts to make his work known in Paris and abroad.