Delpy, Hippolyte-Camille

Joigny 1824 - Paris 1910
Biography & List of works

Vendanges nivernaise, effet du matin, (Harvest in the vineyards of Sancerre, in morning light)

Vendanges nivernaise, effet du matin, (Harvest in the vineyards of Sancerre, in morning light)

SOLD

Medium: Oil On Canvas

Size: 131 x 200 cm

Signed: and dated lower right: H.C. Delpy. '76

Literature:

Hippolyte-Camille Delpy studied with Daubigny as well as Corot and as a contemporary of the Impressionists, blended the subject matter that he adopted from Daubigny with the brighter colors and looser paint handling that were trademarks of his own generation. The result was Delpy’s new visions of the landscapes first explored by the Barbizon artists.

Delpy was born in Joigny in north-west Burgundy in a rich agricultural area; he became interested in painting when he met Daubigny around 1855, and in 1858 the older artist took on Delpy as an informal student.  During the summers, Delpy (who was close in age to Daubigny’s own son, Karl) traveled with his teacher on excursions aboard the studio-boat ‘Le Botin.’   Through Daubigny, Delpy met Corot who encouraged and occasionally advised the young painter.  In 1869, Delpy sent his first paintings to the Salon and in December began to paint small snow scenes, as Pissarro and Monet were also doing during that remarkable winter.  In the early 1870s, Delpy worked often in Ville d’Avray, where Corot had been born and a favored site for the artist, and in Auvers where Daubigny lived. 

Delpy became friendly with Pissarro and Cézanne, who shared his admiration of Daubigny, but although the impressionist exhibitions that began in 1874 might have been a natural venue for Delpy, he continued to aspire to recognition in the Salon.  His Salon paintings of 1873 and 1874 were well-received and in 1875, the painter exhibited a snow scene for the first time for which he was complemented by the critic Castagnary for his originality. 

In 1876, Delpy organized a sale of his own paintings at the Hôtel Drouot, an unusual undertaking.  The sale was favorably announced in several newspapers and was a significant success: all 45 works sold.  That summer the artist moved his family to Bois-le-Roi outside the Forest of Fontainebleau. 

At the Salon of 1880, Delpy exhibited a potato harvesting scene, one of his few landscapes, like the work here, with large-scale figures.  Throughout the 1880s he alternated work on the Normandy coast with stays in the Forest of Fontainebleau and in Paris.  Delpy received his first Salon medal in 1884 and in 1886 traveled to the United States as part of a team that painted a panorama of the battle of Manassas (the American Civil War) in Washington D. C. 

Deply medaled at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and the Galerie Georges Petit, one of the leading dealers in contemporary French paintings, began to handle his work and subsequently organized several one-man exhibitions of Delpy’s paintings.  Petit was simultaneously promoting Pissarro and Sisley and would later show Monet.  In 1908 Delpy was given an exhibition at the prestigious Grafton Galleries in London.  He died in 1910.

Painted in the year Delpy moved with his family to the Barbizon forest, this Salon-scale work by the artist depicts an Autumn harvesting of grapes in the Nivernais, in the Loire river, home to the white wines of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, either of which we may presume are being gathered here. Sancerre’s steep vineyards have a grandeur found nowhere else in the Loire. Pouilly and Sancerre conclude a soil crescent that runs from the Aube through Chablis, dominated by limestone which gives the white wines their minerality.  By Delpy’s time the French Revolution had broken-up vineyards owned by the Church and re-distributed the land among the laity. Grapes at harvest were typically pooled, as some owners had only a hand-full of vines, and then sold. For this reason the importance of ‘terroir’ remains central to wine classification to the present day; it helps to distinguish wines produced in a single vineyard from those produced over a region.

Delpy painted this richly coloured view of the Sancerre hills at dawn with a deep impasto reminiscent of his contemporaries, the Impressionists. Harvesting began in the cool before the sun, unseen and only just illuminating the sky, rose; the previous night’s near-full moon sets in the painting’s west. Some fifteen figures populate the vineyard and the wicker basket filled with grapes, visible on the back of one of these figures, would have been emptied into the cart’s barrels.  

 

Exhibited:

Salon 1876, n°615.

Hippolyte-Camille Delpy studied with Daubigny as well as Corot.  A contemporary of the Impressionists, he blended the subject matter that he adopted from Daubigny with the brighter colors and looser paint handling that were trademarks of his own generation to create distinctive new visions of many of the landscapes first explored by the Barbizon artists.

Delpy was born in Joigny.  He became interested in painting when he met Daubigny around 1855, and in 1858 Daubigny took on Delpy as an informal student.  During the summers, Delpy (who was close in age to Daubigny’s own son, Karl, also a painter) traveled with Daubigny on excursions aboard the studio-boat “Le Botin.”   Through Daubigny, Delpy met Corot who encouraged and occasionally advised the young painter.  In 1869, Delpy sent his first paintings to the Salon; in December he began to paint small snow scenes, as Pissarro and Monet were also doing during that remarkable winter.  In the early 1870s, Delpy worked often in Ville d’Avray, Corot’s favored country site, and in Auvers where Daubigny lived.  He began friendships with Pissarro and Cézanne who shared his admiration of Daubigny.  His Salon paintings of 1873 and 1874 were well received and in 1875, he exhibited a snow scene at the Salon for the first time and was complemented by the critic Castagnary for his originality.  In 1876, Delpy organized a sale of his own paintings at the Hôtel Drouot, an unusual undertaking.  The sale was favorably announced in several newspapers and was a significant success, with all 45 works sold.  That summer he moved his family to Bois-le-Roi outside the Forest of Fontainebleau.

At the Salon of 1880, he exhibited a potato harvesting scene, his first landscape with large-scale figures.  Throughout the 1880s he alternated work on the Normandy coast with stays in the Forest of Fontainebleau and in Paris.  Delpy received his first Salon medal in 1884.  In 1886, he traveled to the United States as part of a team that painted a panorama of the battle of Manassas (American Civil War) in Washington D. C.  At the Exposition Universelle of 1889, Delpy was awarded an honorable mention.  The Galerie Georges Petit, one of the leading dealers in contemporary French paintings, began to handle his work and subsequently organized several one-man exhibitions of Delpy’s paintings.  Petit was simultaneously promoting Pissarro and Sisley and would later show Monet.  In 1908 Delpy was given an exhibition at the prestigious Grafton Galleries in London.  He died in 1910.

Painted in the year Delpy moved with his family to the Barbizon forest, this Salon-scale work by the artist depicts a different locale -one to which the artist must have traveled later that autumn. The work shows in rich colour and with a deep impasto reminiscent of Delpy’s contemporaries, the Impressionists, a landscape of Burgundian vines being harvested at dawn in Nivers. Harvesting began in the cool before the sun, unseen and only just illuminating the sky, rose; the previous night’s near-full moon sets in the painting’s west. Some fifteen figures populate the vineyard and the wicker basket filled with grapes, visible on the back one of these figures to the right of the ox-drawn cart, would have been emptied into one of the cart’s barrels.

Burgundy’s long history is intertwined with its vines: graveyard of the village church of Corgloloin contain tombstones dating back to the 2nd century AD which depict grapes and Celtic gods holding vines.

During the middle ages it was monasteries that excelled at winemaking (the monks had the advantages of cellars in which to mature wine and time and money with which to develop viticultural systems).

By Delpy’s time the French Revolution had broken-up the vineyards, and re-distributed the land among the non-clergy. Grapes were typically pooled, as some owners had only a hand-full of vines, and then sold to bigger producers. For this reason the importance of ‘terroir’ remains central to wine classification to the present day; it helps to distinguish wines produced in a single vineyard from those produced over a region.