Born in France to English parents, Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley would also never formally belong to any single school or style. Up until the end of his life the painter would continue to display the influences of the Barbizon school as well as those of his friends and peers, the Impressionists.
At the age of eighteen, Sisley was asked to work in his family's business in London, but he did not fare well and returned to France where he began his art training with the full support of his parents. He attended the School of Fine arts in 1862 and was soon friends with the founders of the Impressionist movement, August Renoir and Claude Monet.
When his friends abandoned the school at the same time their favorite teacher resigned, Sisley followed suit and headed to the Barbizon area to paint "en plein air" for the next year.
Sisley had always devoted his canvases to landscape and scenic paintings, and he continued to do so throughout his career. His first submission to the Paris Salons was in 1867, and it was a landscape heavily influenced by the Barbizon school, and not by the theories of his Impressionist friends.
Later, however, his work would begin to utilize the quick brushwork and looser style of the school, but still retaining the realistic imagery of his earlier work in place of the Impressionist use of light and color to convey the scene. Much of Sisley's work would depict cloudy skies and seasonal change as its subject.
When the Franco-Prussian War destroyed Sisley's family business the painter would have to worry about selling his works for the first time in his career. He contracted with famous art dealer Durand-Ruel and continued to work.
By 1876 he had settled permanently in the village of Moret-sur-Loing, where he would remain for the rest of his life. The little town was popular with Sisley's friends, particularly Monet and Renoir, and the three would frequently paint together in the area.
Sisley joined the Impressionists formally by exhibiting at their shows in the 1870s and early 1880s. Though he preferred landscapes, shimmering scenes of water and seasonal foliage, Sisley would eventually develop a fondness for winter and snow scenes, and such subjects would appear frequently in his later work.