|European Paintings — Henri Joseph Harpignies - A Summer Landscape|
|Henri Joseph Harpignies - A Summer Landscape
Signed and dated 1900 l.l
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Canvas size: 32 ¼" x 26" ; Framed size: 44 ½" x 38 ¼"
Henri Joseph Harpignies (French, 1819-1916)
Henri-Joseph Harpignies was born Valenciennes on July 28th, 1819, where his family owned a sugar-beet factory. Harpignies began to draw at the early age of four and began his schooling in 1830 at the College Communal in Valenciennes where he only excelled at drawing, music, and geography. He didn't being to paint seriously until the age of twenty-seven when he became a student of Jean Archard. At first a commercial traveler, Harpignies decided quite early in life to devote himself to painting. He took lessons from the landscape painter Achard, under Archard's tutelage he traveled to Holland, Brussels, and Flanders to study the Northern landscape artists of the 17th century. His first Salon picture was a View of Capri in 1853, he exhibited there throughout his career, establishing himself as one of the leaders of the Barbizon School.
Both in his palette and treatment of light, Harpignies's style owed its greatest debt to the influence of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, whom he greatly admired. In his later years Harpignies was clearly aware of theories given visual form by the impressionists, but he remained an essentially conservative painter who carried on the Barbizon tradition through the end of the nineteenth century. Most of his works were of landscapes in France and Italy. He love his time spent in Italy which is made clear when he spoke of his own work: "It was Rome which found, created, sustained me-and which sustains me still; it is to Rome that I owe not only my most noble emotions by my finest inspirations. That is what should be said above everything, that all who desire to learn can go there and face to face with beauty realize how enchanting it is."
Harpignies died at Saint-Prive (Yonne) on August 28th, 1916 having won the Legion d'honneur and the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. In a eulogy, the popular critic Anatole France saluted Harpignies as "the Michelangelo of trees." His paintings can be seen in museums all over the world, including the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the National Gallery of London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.