It is this event that would go down in history as the very first impressionist exhibition. Sisley went on to take part in many events related to the movement. Despite the support of the collector and dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, success eluded him during his lifetime. The ruin of his family, following the Franco-Prussian war (1870), obliged him to live more modestly. He left Paris for Louveciennes, then Marly-le-Roi, Sèvres and, lastly, Veneux-Nadon and Moret-sur-Loing, where he lived at 19 Rue Montmartre until his death in 1899. Throughout his life, he painted the places where he lived and drew his inspiration. Landscapes represent almost all of Sisley’s body of work. While nearly a thousand paintings have been attributed to him, more than 400 were done in Seine & Loing, immortalising the sites of Moret-sur-Loing, Veneux-Les Sablons, Saint-Mammès and Thomery.
t the seventh impressionist exhibition in 1882, of the 27 paintings exhibited by Sisley, 26 depict the local area. He relentlessly explored and painted the orchards, the rivers and their confluences, boats, village streets, the station and church of Moret, always “ sur le motif ”. In the manner of his friend Monet, he produced a series of 14 paintings of the village church at different times of day, in order to study light variations and effects. He established his style and palette here, during the last two decades of his life. His talent for capturing changes of light, the nuances of the sky and clouds, and the wind blowing in the trees, lend his works amazing charm and joyfulness. Sisley, who devoted himself body and soul to painting throughout his life, may not be the most well-known, but is now considered to be one of the greatest landscape artists and the most purist of the impressionists. “ Sunrise at Moret-sur-Loing ”, “ Poplars at Moret-sur-Loing ”, “ The Loing at Saint-Mammès ”,
“A Corner of the Woods at Sablons ”… These compositions are among the greatest impressionist masterpieces and are exhibited at the most prestigious museums in the world.
Three key moments in the impressionist movement
- 1862-63: meeting of the founders of the movement, the young Monet, Sisley, Bazille and Renoir.
- 1874: the first impressionist exhibition.
- 1886: the last impressionist exhibition. The latter is considered to be the end of the movement
Did you know? Impressionnism
Impressionism is a French art movement from the second half of the nineteenth century.
The term used to refer to this major movement was coined by art critic Louis Leroy in a satirical article about Monet’s painting ” Impression, Sunrise ”.
It began as a group of artists with a shared desire to depict real, everyday life, rather than classical subjects and scenes. They used pure colours, far from the dark shades advocated in academic painting. By juxtaposing touches of colour, they came up with a painting technique that satisfied their desire to focus on sensations, impressions and moments. While impressionist works are now admired, they caused a scandal at the time.