Back in Paris four years later, he began to study art under Charles Gleyre, where he met Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Jean-Frédéric Bazille. Together they would develop a novel, visionary visual language: Impressionism.
These were tumultuous years for Sisley. While he had work accepted to the Salon of 1866, subsequent submissions were rejected. The onset of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 brought financial ruin to Sisley’s family as well as the death of Bazille.
Following this personal — and political — period of upheaval, Sisley decided to make art his career. He and his family moved to the Parisian suburbs, near to Monet and Camille Pissarro, and together they began to develop exhibitions outside of the Salon system. Sisley would go on to show paintings at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1875, though his success remained modest.
Throughout his life, Sisley remained essentially a painter of landscapes, and along with his contemporaries, spent much time working en plein air. As part of the Impressionists, who sought to depict the world they inhabited, his compositions are not purely pastoral yet in paintings such as Allée of Chestnut Trees (1878), and Flood at Port-Marly (1872), nature dominates all. In this sense, his formal strategies are indebted to France’s Barbizon group, and particularly the work of Camille Corot. Sisley died in 1899, three months after the death of his wife Eugénie.