Valenciennes 1819 — 1916 St-Prive (Yonne)
Rough, Rocky Landscape at Sunset
watercolor on paper. 97/8 x 131/4" (250 x 335mm). signed and dated l/l: H Harpignies . 1884
What an exceptional feat of watercolor prowess! Harpignies has stunningly shown us an expanse of untamed, naturally rough terrain with lichen covered rocks and patches of wild grass in the foregroud, glimpses of a pond amidst a meadow and some farm buildings in the midground, and a forested background, all under a setting sun still lighting up the most distant. Most of the sky has darkened and much of the underlying landscape is seen in late afternoon light but the furthest which is silhouettted against the yet sunny sky.
Harpignies was duly famed in his lifetime for his masterful watercolors. His output was prodigious. But this is one of his most unusual and beguiling.