Landscape at Sunset, 1894

by Henri Joseph Harpignies


MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 32.0 x 23.3 ins/ 81.3 x 59.2 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Harpignies’ and dated (lower left)

This painting was completed in the later years of Harpignies’ artist career and life. The influence of Corot as a source of inspiration is visible here and throughout Harpignies’ portfolio – they share a typically green and brown palate; a soft, often indirect light; and the delicate, wispy bristling of foliage.


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    Catalogue No: 6339 Categories: ,

    Henri-Joseph Harpignies was a French landscape painter of the Barbizon school. He was characteristically interested in trees and they are most often the dominant feature of his landscapes. What we can see here is his mastery of this devotedly-studied subject matter.

    The trees twist, knot, and lean organically. They play off each other; to the left stands one mighty, solid trunk, contrasting in weight to these thin birch-like trees which serve as a frame to the idyllic waters behind. Scenes like this one capture that inexplicable balance of ‘random’ and ‘order’ in nature, when unruly flora and earth come together in the most beautiful of ways. Landscape at Sunset is a wonderful example of that untamed, restful beauty of nature, for which human presence is simply an ephemeral visit – a timeless painting of an enduring world.

    Estate of the Sarah B. Hanner, Raleigh, North Carolina;
    The Private Collection of Mr. Alexander Avenard

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    Henri Joseph Harpignies was a French landscape painter and member of the Barbizon School of artists. Harpignies’ work was deeply influenced and similar to the paintings of his friend Camille Corot, another Barbizon member. Born on June 28, 1819 in Valenciennes, France, he rebelled against his parents’ wishes to pursue a business career and began to seriously study painting at the age of 27. He had lasting success exhibiting in the Parisian Salons from 1861 onward, with his work now appearing in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Harpignies died on August on 26, 1916 in Saint-Privé, France.

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