Thursday, February 9, 2017

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): Impressionist Master

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut 
January 21–May 21, 2017

Hôtel de Caumont Centre d’Art, Aix-en- Provence
June through October 2017

The Bruce Museum and the Hôtel de Caumont Centre d’Art in Aix-en- Provence, France, are mounting a major monographic exhibition of the art of the French Impressionist Alfred Sisley (1839-1899). The first retrospective in more than 20 years of this purest of all the major Impressionists, Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): Impressionist Master spotlights about 50 of Sisley’s paintings, which come from private collections and major museums in Europe and North America. The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, will premiere the exhibition and is the only venue in the United States. The show will then travel to France, where it will be on exhibit from

Born in Paris in 1839 to well-to-do British parents, Alfred Sisley at first intended to pursue a career in commerce and spent two years in London from 1857 - 1859. During this time, he visited museums, studying both the Old Masters and the great British landscape painters John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. 

On his return to Paris, he was determined to become a landscape painter and enrolled in Charles Gleyre’s studio, where he met the future Impressionists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Frédéric Bazille. 

Initially Sisley worked in the naturalistic landscape tradition of the Barbizon School but increasingly adopted a proto-Impressionistic style, recording specific locations in a sequence of visual records of different times of the day, weather conditions and seasons. In so doing he charted comprehensively and from multiple points of view the landscapes of his residences in the villages along the Seine west of Paris and beyond the Forest of Fontainebleau at Veneux- Nadon and Moret-sur-Loing.

Sisley was first and foremost a painter of light. He knew how to imbue all of his paintings with it.One could say that light floods his landscapes, deliciously bathing even the most modest of details. - Anonymous, “Echo de Paris,” Le Gaulois 1899

While his landscapes are generally modest in scale and tonally relatively restrained, the magic with which he was able to capture the effects of the light dancing on water, the brilliance of winter sun on snow and hoar frost, the movement of the wind in trees, the exploration of the depth of a rural scene, and the vastness of the skies create compelling works akin to poetry. They demand close, quiet contemplation and their re-evaluation is well overdue. 

His very delicate, lively sensibility was at ease before all the glories of nature... Sisley understood lovely light, the transparency of the envelope of air, the mobility and changeability of reflections, the speed of movement. – Octave Mirbeau, 1892

The exhibition Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): Impressionist Master is organized by the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut and Culturespaces. The show is curated by MaryAnne Stevens, independent art historian and curator of the 1992/3 and 2002/3 retrospective exhibitions on the artist. 

It is accompanied by a fullyillustrated catalogue published by Editions Hazan. Contributors to this volume, Richard Shone, who wrote a book on the painter, and Kathleen Adler, a 19th-century French specialist, bring new insights that ensure the publication will be an indispensable reference on the artist and his oeuvre. 

Alfred Sisley
Spring, Peasant under Trees in Blossom, 1865-66
Oil on canvas, 46.5 x 56 cm
Galerie Bailly, Geneva
Image courtesy of Galerie Bailly, Geneva

Alfred Sisley (French, 1839-1899)
The Seine at Bougival, 1872
Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 65.5 cm
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of Henry Johnson Fisher, B.A. 1896 (1962.54) Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery 

Alfred Sisley
Fishermen Spreading their Nets (Drying Nets), 1872
Oil on canvas, 42 x 65 cm Kimbell Art Museum,

Fort Worth, Texas (APx1977.01)
Photograph: Robert LaPrelle. © 2009 Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Alfred Sisley 
Bougival, 1876
Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm
Cincinnati Art Museum, John J. Emery Fund (1922.38)

Image courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum

Alfred Sisley
The Rue de la Princesse, Louveciennes, c. 1873 Oil on canvas, 38 x 54 cm
The Phillips Family Collection
Photography by Hyla Skopitz copyright 2016

Alfred Sisley
The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, 1872
Oil on canvas, 49.5 x 65.4 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr., 1964 (64.287)
Image courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alfred Sisley
The Route to Verriéres, 1872
Oil on canvas, 47.5 x 63 cm
Private Collection, Thomas Gibson, England

Alfred Sisley
Spring at Bougival, c. 1873
Oil on canvas, 40.6 x 57.1 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Charlotte Dorrance Wright, 1978 (1978-1-31) Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Alfred Sisley
The Marly Aqueduct, 1874
Oil on canvas, 54.3 x 81.3 cm
Toledo Museum of Art, Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey (1951.371)
Image courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art

Alfred Sisley
Under Hampton Court Bridge, 1874
Oil on canvas, 50 x 76 cm
Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Donated by Dr. Herbert and Charlotte Wolfer-de-Armas, 1973
© Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Zürich, Lutz Hartmann

Alfred Sisley
Fête Day at Marly-le-Roi, 1875
Oil on canvas, 54 x 73 cm
The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford 

Image courtesy of The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum

Alfred Sisley
The Bridge at Saint-Mammès, 1881
Oil on canvas, 54.6 x 73.2 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917 (Cat. 1082)
Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Alfred Sisley Flood at Port-Marly, 1872
Oil on canvas, 46.4 x 61 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (1985.64.38)
Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art

Alfred Sisley
A Farmyard at Chaville-December, 1879 Oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm
Private Collection

Alfred Sisley
Church at Moret-sur-Loing: Morning, Rainy Weather, 1893
Oil on canvas, 65.9 x 81.3 cm
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow (GLAHA 43815)
© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2016

Alfred Sisley
The Flood at Port Marly, 1876
Oil on canvas, 50 x 61 cm
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid (CTB.1974.25)
© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza on loan at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Alfred Sisley
The Hilly Path, Ville d'Avray, 1879
Oil on canvas, 50 x 65 cm
Collection of The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, Museum purchase, by exchange, and Gift of the Charter Collectors, 2010.18
Image courtesy of The Speed Art Museum

Alfred Sisley
Church at Moret, 1893
Oil on canvas, 55 x 46 cm
Musée Calvet d’Avignon – Gift of Joseph Rignault, 1997, Fondation Calvet (22.279) Image courtesy of Musée Calvet d’Avignon