Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyUsing unpublished letters and archival documents, Shone ( The Post-Impressionists ) sheds new light on impressionist painter Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) in this engrossing,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.)
Selected new colour plates and added extensive commentaries on the illustrations to make this book an ideal introduction to the work of Alfred Sisley.
Library JournalAn 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 Shone has written an in-depth study, using previously unpublished documents and lesser-known works to create an authoritative image of the artist.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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