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This artwork, Harvest in the vineyards of Sancerre, in morning light by Hippolyte Camille Delpy, is currently for sale at Stair Sainty Gallery.
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Hippolyte Camille Delpy, Harvest in the vineyards of Sancerre, in morning light
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TITLE:  Harvest in the vineyards of Sancerre, in morning light
ARTIST:  Hippolyte Camille Delpy (French, 1842–1910)
CATEGORY:  Paintings
MATERIALS:  Unlined oil on canvas
MARKINGS:  Signed and dated lower right: H. C. Delpy. ‘76
SIZE:  h: 131 x w: 200 cm / h: 51.6 x w: 78.7 in
PRICE*:  Contact Gallery for Price
GALLERY:  Stair Sainty Gallery  +44 (0)20 7493 4542  Send Email
DESCRIPTION:  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.
ONLINE CATALOGUE(S):  Stair Sainty Gallery Inventory Catalogue
EXHIBITION HISTORY:  Salon of 1876, n°615
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