Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899)

Kweiseye was a mostly weekly art blog written by myself (Tom Kwei) from June 2014 – October 2015. Initially conceived as but a challenge to keep myself writing regularly, art criticism soon became something I just really enjoyed doing. In total I covered more than 60 artists from over 20 countries and multiple genres – for a full list of all the artists analysed so far, click HERE.

I still love art and will definitely write more Kweiseye in the future, it’s just at the moment I’m more involved with another passion of mine, podcasting. Check out my ‘Down in the Hole’ podcast if you’re a fan of the great Tom Waits’ music, I also interview the great writers of battle rap longform on my ‘Battle Rap Resume’ podcast. here.

Thanks for all your kind comments and messages on the blog so far. Please get in touch via the blog or I’d love to hear about what you think on the pieces featured. 

Tom Kwei, February 2016 


Painting in a style far subtler than other artists explored so far on this blog, Sisley’s whispering brushwork always seems to me to revel more in the techniques of Impressionism, rather than the movement’s core strides towards realism.

‘The Seine at Daybreak’ – 1877


Faced from afar with a small riverside settlement, Sisley divides the image into three unified wholes: the town with its people, the river and the sky. Whilst the settlement is painted in an endearing quaintness, with a chimney elegantly pluming above with its soot black top, it is the infinities the town is sandwiched between that seem more of interest to the artist. Indeed, the very that it is daybreak, with the town presumably hollowed of activity, allows these elements to come further into play.

Whilst the water elbows its way out of the picture, budding subtly more rich in color as it grows in depth, it’s the sky that really made me fall for the image. A vista that hands far more complicated than the world beneath it. The skill Sisley possesses here in his treatment of the cloud’s fold and crevasses is quite incredible, even the true blue of the sky breaking through is still dappled lightly with heavenly remnants.

‘Fog’ 1874


A woman stoops on her knees working within a garden, she and it seem one and together. A union suggested not only by the muted color scheme, but also the roots that seem to run up her clothing, as well as the tree behind her aching forward in much the same manner. The pallid grey that washes over the image furthers this idea, with the ‘barrier’ of the fence separating portions of nature, becoming itself obscured through the haze.

The wispy undetermined fog lends an abstract quality to the present forms, trees and hedges become spindly nothings that surround the gardener unaware. Amid the entirety of the ghostly grove however, a rogue rose, a daring dot of pink cover that grins out from the closed mouth hues.

Enjoy reading that? Click HERE to see a list of all the art analyses on Kweiseye to date.

To keep up with the blog and all the art I write about, follow me right here on this blog or here @tomkweipoet


4 thoughts on “Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899)

  1. Pingback: Raoul Dufy (1877 – 1953) | Kwei's Eye

  2. Pingback: Armando Reverón (1889 – 1954) | Kwei's Eye

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