The work of Alfred Sisley was on show; the first major exhibition devoted to this leading Impressionist to take place outside London in half a century.
Alfred Sisley: Impressionist Landscapes comprised of works from this acclaimed member of the Impressionist group, who was described by his contemporary Eugène Murer as having ‘the soul and brush of a poet.’ It spans the years from the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 until his death from throat cancer in 1899. Born in Paris to English parents, Sisley’s talents were appreciated by his lifelong friends Monet and Renoir, with whom he studied, and his art is now appreciated worldwide. This exhibition, which included loans from private collections and museums, explored Sisley’s captivation with the landscape of the Parisian suburbs of Louveciennes and Port-Marly and the towns along the River Loing. Port-Marly provided Sisley with the inspiration for some of his most famous and celebrated images. This body of work was explored with the inclusion of Port-Marly under Snow, from a private collection and on long term loan to The Bowes Museum.
“Sisley very rarely painted anything other than landscapes, and would paint the same view at different times of year,” said Emma House, Assistant Keeper of Fine Art at The Bowes Museum. “He delighted in exploring the effects of weather conditions on the landscape. His eloquent brushwork and subtle range of colours and tonal nuances captured the ever changing seasons. “Sisley’s reputation as a leading member of the Impressionist group has been hard-fought. Neglected during his lifetime, he fell into relative obscurity when he died. He was of British parentage and never managed to become a French citizen, which is why he might possibly have been neglected. He retained his British nationality even though he spent so little time here. “This exhibition wass a retrospective to show the development of Sisley’s style,” she added. “As he got older his brushwork became much looser, and his use of colour more vibrant.”