The Parisian painter Alfred Sisley was born on October 1839 to British parents, William Sisley and Felicia Sell. The affluent couple worked in the silk business and as a music connoisseur, consecutively. They wished that Sisley followed in his father’s footsteps as a businessman, sending him to study in London at eighteen years old, in 1857. During this period he came in contact with the work of Romantic landscape painters John Constable and J. M. W. Turner, that influenced his later production. After four years, Sisley gave up and returned to his hometown to follow his goal to become an artist. Not many of his early studies still exist, but most consisted of landscapes with dark and earthy color pallets, many of which he painted at Saint-Cloud and the royal residence Chateau de Marly. Sisley’s later work was also inspired by the Realist artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet.
In 1862, Sisley began to study under the Swiss artist Charles Gleyre at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts. During this period, he met Claude Monet, Fréderic Bazille, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The group of artists had similar views on the art world, eventually breaking the Classic standards of painting landscapes inside studios, completing outdoor paintings they called painting en plein air. Not only did they have a different view on landscape painting, but they also brightened their color pallets with looser and thicker brushstrokes - the group would become known as the Impressionists after their first independent art show in 1874. Artists like Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro brought Modern subjects and themes that influenced Sisley and his peers. Among the group, Sisley focused more on producing landscape, although he was often overshadowed by the other avant-guard painters.
During the 1860s, Sisley received financial support from his father, which helped him pursue his artistic career without worrying with making a living through his production. He and many other of the Modern painters often had their works rejected by traditional art institutions like the Paris Salon. Sisley had a stable relationship with Marie Lescouezec by 1866, with whom he had a son and daughter together, Pierre and Jeanne. During this period, the couple lived near a hot spot for Modern painters at the Café Guerbois, at the Avenue de Clichy. Sisley continued sending works for the Paris Salon, and in 1868 some paintings were excepted. By 1870, Sisley saw himself without his father’s allowance after the Franco-Prussian War affected his business. The artist struggled to sell his paintings, resulting in a life of financial struggles. By 1880, Sisley and his family moved to a small village near the landscapes in which the artists of the Barbizon School portrayed in their art. In January 1899, Sisley passed away at the early age of 59 because of throat cancer.