Portrait of William Sisley by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Portrait of William Sisley

1864

Information about painting

Dimensions: 65.5 x 81.5 cm
Type: Oil on canvas
Location: Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
Shop: Buy oil on canvas handmade reproduction

This work is the first of many portraits of respectable, prosperous client, exhibited at the Salon 1865 where unknown 24-year old Renoir had his first works. William Sisley, an Englishman, was director of an artificial flower importing business and father of the painter Alfred Sisley. The work demonstrates that Renoir gratefully realized the implication of this early commission.

This picture has been painted with a degree of gravitas which could only have been flattering. The painting is a cunning attempt at integrating an acceptable academic style within a more modern frame of reference. William Sisley is detached from the spectator, sitting in a red armchair and with his spectacles in his right hand. The half-length pose, the rather stern expression and the clarity of the features owe something to Ingres' Portrait of Monsieur Bertin but the contrast dark and light and the accomplished use of rich velvety black pigment demonstrate that Renoir vas influenced by the work of Edouard Manet at this stage in his career.

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