The Rocky Path in the Morvan (Chemin des roches dans le Morvan)

Henri-Joseph Harpignies French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 957

Displayed in the Salon of 1869 in Paris, this impressive and variegated landscape was well-received in its day. Its size and style are considered unusual for the artist who typically favored more realistic landscapes on a diminutive scale. Painted in the Morvan region of central France, this landscape shows a rocky path that winds through a wooded river bank and is visited by leisurely figures. On the left, a woman knits upon one of the many imposing mottled rocks in the foreground. As she faces the distant scenery, the viewer is invited to the same view of a warmly lit, cascading rocky hillside beyond the river.

An avid landscape painter, Harpignies traveled to Italy in 1863 and observed the remarkable landscapes of Italian artists. He also took note of landscape artists in Paris such as Courbet, Pissarro, and Corot, all of whose varied styles Harpignies borrowed and appropriated in creating his own personal style, which he exemplifies in the execution of this painting.

The Rocky Path in the Morvan (Chemin des roches dans le Morvan), Henri-Joseph Harpignies (French, Valenciennes 1819–1916 Saint-Privé), Oil on canvas

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