GBP Pound Sterling

Country of origin: France

Medium: Oil on canvas

Signed: Signed lower right

Dated: c. 1885

Condition: Very good original condition

Size: 16.00" x 11.00" (40.6cm x 27.9cm)

Framed size: 22.50" x 17.50" (57.2cm x 44.5cm)

Provenance: Private french collection

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Artist biography

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Henri Joseph Harpignies Paintings

Henri Harpignies devoted himself to art at the age of 27. He took lessons from the landscape painter Achard, and also studied the landscape artists of the School of 1830, and especially Corot. In his first works, he was clearly inspired by Corot's early works. He soon demonstrated a very strong artistic personality, characterised by a great force of expression. He was awarded the Croix de Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1875, Officier in 1883 and Croix de Commandeur in 1901.

Following a study trip to Italy, he exhibited at the Salon in Paris for the first time in 1853, with View of Capri, and continued to take part in exhibitions. In 1863 his painting Wild Ducks was refused by the admissions jury. He was so offended that he destroyed his work and then made a second trip to Italy in 1863-1865. Returning with many landscape paintings, and was awarded medals in 1866, 1868 and 1869. He also won a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1878 for his Colosseum in Rome. The Grande Médaille d'Honneur for Banks of the Rhône in 1897, and the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. In 1881 he became a member of the Société des Aquarellistes Français. And in 1887 a member of the Société des Artistes Français.

He also exhibited at the New Water-Colour Society in London. From 1883 Harpignies entered into a business relationship with the recently established dealers Arnold & Tripp. And in 1908 he signed a permanent contract with their gallery.


The 'Michelangelo of trees'

In addition to his Italian landscapes, he produced paintings of French regions, notably the Nivernais and the Allier. He was also attracted by depicting the season or a certain time, for example, moonlight. His compositions were distinguished and elegant. He would often use blue notes to infuse a carefully nuanced palette of greyish-green with light. His brushstroke was light but concise, using overlapping planes to create a flattening effect. He was influenced by Art Nouveau and the contemporary enthusiasm for Japanese prints and decorative arts. It could be said that he was to the Barbizon School what Guillaumin was to be to the Impressionists. Anatole France called him the 'Michelangelo of trees'. Harpignies himself also branched into the decorative arts. Painting lampshades and creating designs for the Paris Opera, the Senate and the Hôtel de Ville.

As a watercolourist, Harpignies enjoyed wide popularity during the latter part of his career. And he also took up teaching from 1885 at his school in Paris, which made him even more influential. He was an artist who bridged the gap between the declining public Salon system and the emerging private art market. Despite his popularity in the private market, his reputation still relied on his impressive Salon record.


Group Exhibitions

2001, Burgundian Landscapes, from Corot to Laronze (Paysages de Bourgogne, de Corot à Laronze), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon


Museum and Gallery Holdings

Bath (Holburne Museum of Art): Landscape (1861, oil on canvas)
Besançon: Aumance Valley
Besançon (MBA et d'Archéologie): Reserved Fishing (1865, oil on wood)
Bucharest (Muz. National de Arta al României): a watercolour
Clamecy: Landscape
Dieppe: a watercolour
Douai: Sorrento Seascape
Grenoble: Autumn
Harrogate (Mercer AG): Bords de la Loire (1910, chalk)
La Roche-sur-Yon: River in Morvan
Liège: View from St-Privé
Lille: Return from Hunting; Autumn at La Trumelière; Study from Nature; Souvenir of Meurthe
Louvres: three landscapes
Orléans: Saut-du-Loup
Rennes (MBA): From St-Privé to Bléneau, Souvenir of the Yonne (1885, oil on canvas)
Rochefort: a watercolour
Rouen: Landscape; Egg Collectors
Soissons: Landscape
Tourcoing: View from St-Privé; Souvenir of the Allier
Valenciennes: Run for your Life; Old Walnut Tree; Aumance Valley

Henri Joseph Harpignies Paintings

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