View over the Rooftops of Saint-Privé
  • Henri-Joseph Harpignies
  • Valenciennes 1819 - 1916 Saint-Privé
  • View over the Rooftops of Saint-Privé, 1885
  • Watercolour on strong paper
  • igned and dated with brush and black wash on the lower left: h ’harpignies 85,
    old inscription and numbering on the verso: Vue prise à St. Privé d’une fenêtre / 6388unknown collector’s stamp (Lugt 3279)
  • 242 × 330 mm
Pierre Vignal (1855-1925, student of Harpignies)

In 1878, Henri-Joseph Harpignies permanently settled in the village of Saint-Privé, located in the Département Yonne of the Bourgogne region in northeastern France. He felt very much at home there until his death in 1916, and the rustic landscape of this environment indeed remained an inexhaustible source of inspiration for him throughout his life.

In this watercolour, however, nature is nearly overshadowed by the crooked architecture of the farmsteads in the foreground, the clear-cut horizon, and the overemphasized contrasts of light and shadow. Only the loose and light colour treatment of the sky reveals to the viewer the artist’s familiar signature.