Henri Joseph Harpignies (French 1819-1916) was a 19th century landscape painter whose depictions of popular parks and Paris views are as collected now as they were in his lifetime.
Harpignies began to paint seriously at the age of twenty-seven when he became a student of Jean Achard, a landscape painter. Under Archard's tutelage, he traveled to Holland, Brussels, and Flanders to study the Northern artists of the 17th century. Shortly after returning to France he left again, this time for Italy, where he met many artists at the Villa Medici in Rome. During this time, Harpignies began experimenting in watercolor and became interested in the work of Corot. In 1852, he returned to France to establish his own studio in Paris and met the artists Gérome, Hamon and Corot. A year later, in 183, he moved away from Paris to continue his outdoor painting. It was then that he made his Salon debut. From this point on, Harpignies, devoted himself to the subject of landscapes.
Influenced by the Barbizon painters, and Constant Troyon in particular, Harpignies was never exclusively a member of one group. His work distilled these influences into an immediately recognizable personal style, a simple, clear and bold composition in delicate green-grey tones and a bright blue sky. His paintings, and, particularly, his watercolors were highly sought after and collected throughout his career.
Continually traveling throughout France during his long career, Harpignies spent his summers at Herisson where he led a group known at the Ecole d'Herisson. At the same time, he discovered the town of Saint-Privé where he bought a house called la Trémellerie which he used until his death in 1916.