Alfred Sisley has been called the Cinderella of the Impressionists, the influential group of artists who painted the world around them in a new, spontaneous way.
The son of an English textile merchant based in Paris, Sisley was expected to follow a commercial career. However, in 1862 he entered the teaching studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. The friends painted together in the open air and exhibited in a series of exhibitions.
Described by Renoir as a delightful human being who "could never resist a petticoat", Sisley never achieved the commercial success that Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and the other Impressionists eventually enjoyed. He lost everything in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war, and after his father's business failed, he lived in poverty. He died of throat cancer.