While living in Chicago I spent a lot of time at the Art Institute where they had a good collection of French impressionists. As a young art student the artist that caught my eye the most was Alfred Sisley. While his work was smaller than the other impressionists and less dramatic his brushwork was quick and sure and the light in his work held everything together. Sisley is probably the least regarded of the impressionists. Very little is know of his personal life. Renoir gives us brief comments on him in his letters but very few letters or phoographs of Sisley survive that tell us much about him. Sisley traveled very little. He didn't have the ambition of Monet or Pissaro's vision and intellect. He wasn't even French. His parents were English and moved to Paris before Alfred was born.
Still, Sisley produced some of the finest landscapes in to 19th century and was a major factor in the impressionists movement. He had a great sense of composition and a deftness with his values. I learned more about depicting light and atmosphere from studying his work than from any other artist at the Chicago Art Institute.