Hippolyte-Camille Delpy was born into a moderately wealthy family from Joigny, in the Burgundy region of France, on April 6th, 1842. His father, Etienne Delpy, was a pharmacist who wanted his son to undertake management of the family business. Although he had already shown an interest in painting, it was not until meeting the respected landscape painter Charles-Francois Daubigny, a friend of the family through Etienne’s brother-in-law, the engraver Lavoignant, that Hippolyte was more thoroughly influenced into pursuing his artistic interests.
Delpy had the opportunity to study under two of the great landscape painters, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Charles-Francois Daubigny. The approaches of these masters were markedly different. Corot’s style was more romantic and idealized, while that of Daubigny was more contemporary and realistic. For his own part, Delpy captured the reality of nature while applying his own personal artistic reflections. Delpy’s itinerant lifestyle, typical of other landscape painters, took him throughout France and into Holland, England, and even into the United States in search of an idyllic landscape suitable for his paintings.
In 1869, Delpy submitted his first Salon entry, A Luncheon during Lent, at my father’s house, a still life which would begin a career at the Salon that lasted over 40 years. The success of each of his subsequent public auctions held to satisfy financial concerns, and reflects the popularity of this landscape painter during a period when many other landscape artists were vying for equal attention. During the latter half of the 1880s, Delpy met Théo Poilpot, who encouraged him to go to Washington D.C., where he could work with a group of artists on a panorama depicting the Battle of Manassas in Virginia during the Civil War. Panoramas had become extremely popular and profitable throughout America and Europe. After the panorama’s exposure in Washington, it was presented in New York, where it was well received.
Delpy returned to Paris to represent himself in the Exposition Universelle of 1889, to which he sent three paintings and was awarded an honorable mention for the ensemble. During this same year, he also held his first exhibition at The Artistes Modernes Gallery on the rue de la Paix. He later exhibited in 1894 at the Galerie Georges Petit, one of the most important galleries in Paris.
In 1900, after Delpy had exhibited prolifically both at the annual Salons and at local Parisian galleries, he began to work more often in his studio instead of directly outdoors. He participated in the Salon of 1900, where he received a second place medal, in addition to participating in the Exposition Universelle. At this point he was considered “hors concours,” allowing him to submit whichever works he chose to the annual Salon without the scrutiny of the jury.
In 1908, he organized two gallery shows at the Haussmann Gallery and at the Grafton Gallery in London. By 1909, forty years after his debut at the Salon, Delpy’s health began to deteriorate progressively, forcing him to stay in bed for several months. He exhibited for the last time at the 1910 Salon before passing away on Saturday, June 4th, 1910 in Paris.
Delpy had achieved a phenomenal success both during and after his lifetime. His paintings render nature with realistic tones but also with a sentimental feeling gleaned from an understanding of the methods of both Corot and Daubigny.
Awards/Memberships: Soceité des Artistes Francais, Paris, 1886 onward Second place medal, Salon des Indépendants, Paris, France, 1900 Third Prize, Salon des Indépendants, Paris, France, 1884
Exhibitions: Salon des Indépendants, Paris, France, 1869-1909 Exposition Universelle, Paris, France, 1889 Artistes Modernes, Paris, France, 1889 Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, France, 1894 Haussmann Gallery, Paris, France, 1908 Grafton Gallery, London, England, 1908
Museums/Exhibitions: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Béziers, France Musée des Beaux-Arts, Chambéry, France Musée de Louviers, France Musée Carnavalet, Paris, France Brigham Young University Fine Arts Collection, Provo, Utah Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona