Henri Joseph Harpignies French, 1819-1916


Harpignies was a pupil of the landscape painter Jean Achard, with whom he travelled around France. Between the years 1849-52 and 1863-5, Harpignies was in Italy. In a lineage of artists influenced by Jean-Baptiste Corot, Harpignies was among the most significant ; he painted in an essentially Barbizon manner and worked regularly in the Forest of Fontainebleau from 1854.

Continually travelling throughout France during his long career, Harpignies spent his summers at Herisson where he led a group known as the Ecole d'Herisson.

Here, he travelled each summer – until 1879 – before retiring to his property La Trémellerie at Saint-Privé.


Harpignies exhibited at the Salon from 1853 onwards. He was awarded a gold medal in 1866 and further medals in 1868 and 1869.

Despite his assimilation of the Barbizon style, Harpignies was never exclusively a member of one group, though his work characterised an immediately recognizable expression of nature. Each element in his compositions defined a personal lexicon of recurrent subjects and themes, sophisticated in their rendering.


Praised by his peers for his distinctive ability, Harpignies was renowned as a watercolour artist, and explored this medium throughout his career.