Sisley

Sisley

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by Richard Shone
     
 

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Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) was one of the greatest landscape painters of the nineteenth century and a leading figure in the Impressionist movement. This is the most detailed and authoritative survey of his life and work to be published thus far. With a wealth of illustrations, much new research, and an absorbing text, it reveals Sisley as an artist of seductive power… See more details below

Overview

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) was one of the greatest landscape painters of the nineteenth century and a leading figure in the Impressionist movement. This is the most detailed and authoritative survey of his life and work to be published thus far. With a wealth of illustrations, much new research, and an absorbing text, it reveals Sisley as an artist of seductive power and originality. Sisley's painting was devoted to the landscape. His celebrated scenes of the Paris countryside, views of the flooded Seine at Port-Marly, and colorful regattas on the Thames achieve a superb balance of tones and a poetic evocation of mood while also offering a lively depiction of their subjects. Kenneth Clark described the wonderful series of Thames paintings as embodying "the perfect moment of Impressionism." And yet, as his friend Arsene Alexandre said, "Sisley lived proud and died poor." His art gained full recognition only after his death, and even now his work is often overlooked. Richard Shone brings to this long-awaited book a fresh eye and an intimate knowledge of the Ile de France, the locale of many of Sisley's paintings. Shone's research has brought to light much new biographical information - on the artist's early career, his struggle to earn a living, and his secluded later years - all of which leads to a greater understanding of Sisley's artistic development. The many full-color illustrations include important series of paintings never before reproduced together in such quantity - the floods, the snow scenes, the church at Moret-sur-Loing, the Welsh coast. From this landmark book emerges a picture of a painter continually renewing his art, absorbing varied influences yet creating a personal vision of rural France that is as enduring and enchanting as the work of his fellow Impressionists. Richard Shone confirms the truth of Pissarro's description of Sisley as "a great and beautiful artist."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Using unpublished letters and archival documents, Shone ( The Post-Impressionists ) sheds new light on impressionist painter Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) in this engrossing, meticulously researched critical biography. It illuminates the artist's personal estrangement from his English parents who settled in Paris and embraced French bourgeois life. The evidence suggests that the penurious painter was cut off financially by his father, who apparently died insane after suffering business reversals. Sisley emerges here as a resourceful, proud, solitary figure. Shone also provides valuable details on Sisley's genteel poverty, his relations with dealers and fellow impressionists and his secluded later years in northern France. One can follow the distinct phases of Sisley's style in the 130 high-quality color plates and 40 black-and-whites. Indispensable for lovers of Sisley's luminous, healing art. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
An elusive and reticent personality, a total concentration on the serenity and significance of landscape, and an unswerving adherence to the vision of Impressionism, combined with little in the way of personal documentation--all this has long left Sisley in the shadow of the more vigorous and flamboyant of his colleagues. These publications reveal a great deal about the man and the artist, who was born to English parents in France and was neither claimed nor acclaimed by either country. The catalog of an international exhibition, Alfred Sisley combines a wealth of biographical material with extensive studies of the major paintings, the influences upon Sisley's work, and the impact of Impressionism on the world of 19th-century art. An excellent chronology, bibliography, and index and splendid illustrations with scholarly annotations make this book a most important contribution. Shone has written an in-depth study, using previously unpublished documents and lesser-known works to create an authoritative image of the artist. The wealth of illustrations is commendable, although the quality is variable and the overall layout of the work is not always pleasing to mind and eye. Couldrey's slighter work, which has the virtue of at last claiming Sisley as the ``English impressionist,'' offers essential biographical details, commentaries, and a number of recent photographs along with the paintings of landscapes, both English and French. The book nicely reflects its theme of the ``quiet genius of this gentle painter.'' The library with an unlimited budget would do well to own all three of these works, but fiscal reality dictates that the exhibition catalog be the primary purchase. While the Shone work is not without flaws, it provides important new scholarly insights into the artist and his work and would be an asset in any collection. For more general collections, the Couldrey would be a fine choice.-- Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780714838922
Publisher:
Phaidon Press
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
9.87(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

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