Hippolyte Petitjean started his training in Mâcon and then became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where he worked in Cabanel's studio. By selling two Seurat paintings that he owned for 25,000 gold francs, he was able to build an immense studio opposite the Parc Montsouris.
Petitjean painted some mythological subjects, but mainly executed figured landscapes, many of which were views of Paris. He made preparatory studies in the open air, but usually painted the final and highly detailed pictures slowly in the studio. He was an admirer of Puvis de Chavannes and a close friend of Seurat. The careful detail of his compositions connects him to the Symbolists, though he was equally committed to the Divisionists' technique, which he practised faithfully from 1886 until his death. His output consists of about 350 pictures and many drawings, watercolours and gouaches.
Petitjean exhibited in Stockholm in 1887, in Paris at the Salon des Indépendants from 1891, in Brussels in 1893 and 1898, in Berlin in 1898, in Weimar in 1903 and in Wiesbaden in 1921. Posthumously, he was represented in the exhibition Burgundian Landscapes, from Corot to Laronze ( Paysages de Bourgogne, de Corot à Laronze) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, in 2001.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Mâcon (Mus. des Ursulines): Landscape in Donzy-le-Pertuis (c. 1885, oil on canvas)
Paris (Louvre): Landscape with a Hill (c. 1890, watercolour)
Paris (MNAM-CCI): The Artist's Wife (1892)