24 October 2018
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch continues to mix oils and water.
My recent piece on Ferdinand Gueldry, ‘painter of water and light’, followed on from Hélène Rémond’s post on the exhibition of his work currently at the Nogent-sur-Marne Museum. I was particularly taken by Gueldry’s 1896 painting of boaters at Molesey Lock. It also reminded me that, over 20 years before, Molesey had and played host to another painter with a French connection, one who also immortalised local rowers in his work.
Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899) was a prolific impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France (though officially remained a British citizen). A devoted outdoor painter, he seemed particularly inspired by water and bridges – but he only included rowers in his aquatic works in some of the pictures that he made during his four-month visit to Britain in 1874. The paintings of the Upper Thames around Molesey that he produced in this time were brighter than those he had done before and were later described by the art historian, Sir Kenneth Clark, as ‘a perfect moment of Impressionism’.
The blogger, Fireside Hours, has an excellent three-part post showing the above scenes today. Part two is of particular interest – though part one and part three (which includes ‘Regatta at Molesey’) are also well worth reading.
The website, theartstory.com says this of Sisley:
Alfred Sisley is one of Impressionism’s most unjustly overlooked artists. This may perhaps be due to the fact that Sisley straddled two different cultures, having been born to English parents in France… As such, though he worked as one of the key figures in French Impressionism, he remained something of an outsider… Sisley created his own unique brand of Impressionism that foreshadowed many of the new painting styles that would emerge in Europe after the turn of the 20th century…
Most of Sisley’s known works are illustrated in high resolution on a remarkable site, The Athenaeum.