Landscape artist, Henri-Joseph Harpignies would show the influences of the major players of the Barbizon school upon his works in oil, watercolor and pastel long after he transitioned entirely to landscape subjects.
He was born in 1819, but entered into a professional painting career late in life at the age of twenty-seven. Initially he was a student of Jean Achard, and together they traveled though Brussels, Flanders and Holland studying the work of seventeenth century landscape masters.
Once they returned to France Harpignies decided that a painting excursion to Italy would be a good idea, and he headed to the Villa Medici in Rome. It was here that he was first introduced to the work of Camille Corot, a founding member of the Barbizon school. Almost immediately Harpignies adopted some of Corot's techniques.
Once back in France he established his own Parisian studio, but would soon relocate to the countryside in order to enjoy opportunities for painting "en plein air". Here he would befriend Millet, Daubigny, Dupre and other Barbizon painters painting near the Fontainebleau Forest. He would travel widely to find subjects; capturing the rivers, seaside, villages and forests of both southern France and Italy.
By 1853 Harpignies work was selected for Salon exhibitions, and he would find fantastic success for many years. He won medals in 1866, 1868 and 1869. He received the Legion d'honneur in 1875 and the Grand Prix in 1900. His works were purchased by the Italian government in 1866, and he was accepted in the Salons for almost fifty years running.
His final Salon submission was in 1913, but he continued to paint up until the time of his death, though he had almost entirely lost his vision by that time.
His paintings are in preeminent museums around the world, including the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.