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 Henri-Joseph Harpignies  (1819 - 1916)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: landscape painting, watercolors

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Henri-Joseph Harpignies
from Auction House Records.
Souvenir de Dauphiné
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Active in late-19th, early 20th-century France, Henri-Joseph Harpignies did landscape painting that combined Realism with influences of the Barbizon School and Tonalism, especially the composition and coloration of Cámille Corot (1796-1875). 

Harpignies  began his career in 1846, when he was 27 years old.  He was born in Valenciennes to a family that ran a sugar beet factory.  As a child he had only a few art lessons, and did not turn to any serious focus on painting until he had worked for several years in business.

He began his formal art education in the studio of J.A. Achard, and on his teacher's recommendation went to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands to paint scenes from those countries and to study their 'Old Masters'.  In 1853, he had his first work accepted at the Paris Salon, and in 1859, he submitted one of his most major works, Return from the War, which received positive reviews and did much to establish his reputation as a major national landscape painter.  Done in a period when landscape painting had dubious worth among academic judges, Harpignies put in narrative details that 'spoke' of much more than just landscape.  The canvas was a large-scale scene with a troop of French solidiers cheered by a happy group of village children, interacting near prosperous looking farms beneath a glowing sky.  By depicitng "long, commodious barns and big walled homesteads", he suggested a specific region, which was on the French border with Belgium, and the soldiers, of course, reflected the war of the 1850s.

In 1863, the Salon Jury refused three out of four of his paintings.  Angered he spent two years in Italy, but in 1865, had revenge because the Emperior bought one of his entries.   The next year, representatives of the State purchased two more paintings for the government's collecton, and also awarded him a gold medal.  From that time, his reputation grew internationally as well as in his own country, and in 1900, he received a major honor, which was the Grand Prix award at the Exposition Universelle.

From the time he began exhibiting regularly at the Salon, he painted for nearly fifty years, exhibiting both watercolors and oil paintings in most of the Salons and in exhibitions in other countries as well.  Harpignies took particular interest in the Barbizon artists, who were doing plein-air painting at the village of Barbizon.  He also traveled widely, both to other countries and within France, especially to Marly near the Forest of Fontainebleau and to Hérisson in the Allier area of the Auvergne.  In 1879, he began spending most of his summers in St.-Prive in Burgundy, where he purchased property.  He spent his winters along the Riviera including at Nice and Antibes. 

Henri-Joseph Harpignies died in St.-Privé in 1916.  The well-known critic, Anatole France, said that Harpignies was "the Michelangelo of trees."


Source:
Alexandra Murphy: http://www.europeanpaintings.com/exhibits/frlscape/harpbio.htm

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Henri-Joseph Harpignies
French, 1819 - 1916

Henri Joseph Harpignies was landscape artist both in oil and watercolor.  Highly versatile in his approach to painting media, Harpignies played a major role in the revival of watercolor in France, and also worked extensively in pen and ink-wash.

Born in Valenciennes on July 28, 1819, he did not start to paint seriously until the age of 27 when he became a student of Jean Achard, also a landscapist.  Under Achard’s tutelage, he traveled to Holland, Brussels, and Flanders to study the northern landscapists of the 17th century.  Shortly after returning to France, he left again, this time for Italy, where he met many of the artists of the Villa Medici in Rome.  During this time, he became interested in the work of Camille Corot.

In 1852, Harpignies returned to France to establish his own studio in Paris and met the artists Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean-Louis Hamon, both of whom were at the beginnings of their careers.  A year later he moved outside of Paris to continue painting en plein-air, where he met Daubigny, Diaz, Dupré, Millet, and Rousseau – all first-generation members of the Barbizon school—to paint in the countryside near Fontainebleau Forest.

In the early years of his career from 1853 through 1856, Harpignies, under the influence of Corot and of the Barbizon painter Constant Troyon, experimented with figural compositions, but very quickly he shifted his focus to pure landscapes. Harpignies made his Salon debut in 1853 and continued to exhibit regularly thereafter, winning medals in 1866, 1868, 1869, the Legion d’honneur in 1875, and the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

Museums:
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums; Besançon; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; Bucarest, Musée Simu; Clamecy; Cleveland Museum of Art; Dieppe; Douai; Grenoble; La-Roche-sur-Yon; Liége; Lille; London, National Gallery, Tate Gallery, Courtauld Institute of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Orléans; Paris, Louvre; Pasadena CA, Norton Simon Museum; Rochefort; Rouen; Saint-Petersburg, Hermitage; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Soissons; Tourcoing; Valenciennes; Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art;


Biography from Anderson Galleries, Inc.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Henri Joseph Harpignies, a landscape artist both in oil and watercolor, was born in Valenciennes on July 28, 1819.  He did not start to paint seriously until the age of 27 when he became a student of Jean Achard, also a landscapist.  Under Achard's tutelage he traveled to Holland, Brussels, and Flanders to study the northern landscapists of the 17th century.  Shortly after returning to France he left again, this time for Italy, where he met many of the artists of the Villa Medici in Rome.  During this time, he became interested in the work of Camille Corot, whose influence is apparent in many of his landscapes.

In 1852, Harpignies returned to France to establish his own studio in Paris and met the artists Jean-Leon Gerome and Jean-Louis Hamon, both of whom were at the beginnings of their careers.  A year later he moved outside of Paris to continue painting en plein-air, where he met Daubigny, Diaz, Dupre, Millet, and Rousseau - all first-generation members of the Barbizon school - to paint in the countryside near Fontainebleau Forest.

In the early years of his career from 1853 through 1856, Harpignies, under the influence of Corot and of the Barbizon painter Constant Troyon, experimented with figural compositions, but very quickly he shifted his focus to pure landscapes. Harpignies made his Salon debut in 185,3 and continued to exhibit regularly thereafter, winning medals in 1866, 1868, and 1869.

He received the Legion d'honneur in 1875 and the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.  Like many of his fellow Barbizon painters, Harpignies did not confine himself to a single region in which to paint - rather, his canvases freely depict forests, villages, rivers, and seas, as well as the south of France and Italy.

Biography from Daphne Alazraki Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Henri Joseph Harpignies, a widely acclaimed landscape artist both in oil and watercolor, was born in Valenciennes on July 28, 1819. Harpignies did not start to paint seriously until the age of 27, when he became a student of Jean Achard, also a landscapist. Under Achard’s tutelage, he traveled to Holland, Brussels, and Flanders to study the northern landscape artists of the 17th century.

Shortly after returning to France, he left again, this time for Italy, where he met many of the artists of the Villa Medici in Rome. During this time, he became influenced by the work of Camille Corot. On that trip to Rome, Harpignies executed his first watercolors, which would later be known as his signature medium.

In 1852, Harpignies returned to France to establish his own studio in Paris and met the artists Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean-Louis Hamon, both of whom were at the beginning of their careers. A year later, he moved outside of Paris to continue painting en plein air, where he met Daubigny, Diaz, Dupré, Millet, and Rousseau—all first-generation members of the Barbizon school—to paint in the countryside near Fontainebleau Forest.

In the early years of his career from 1853 through 1856, Harpignies, under the influence of Corot and the Barbizon painter Constant Troyon, experimented with figural compositions, but very quickly shifted his focus to pure landscapes. Harpignies made his Salon debut in 1853, and continued to exhibit regularly thereafter, winning medals in 1866, 1868, and 1869. He received the Legion d’honneur in 1875 and the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

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