The subject matter of Delpy’s painting is a romantic vision of country life along a French river. The laundress along a riverbank is a popular theme for Delpy as well as many other prominent French painters ( Leon L’Hermitte, Charles Francois Daubigny, Louis Hervier, Jean Francois Millet, Jules Breton, etc). All of these seemingly disparate artists painted works which develop the motif of country women working at the banks of a scenic river. Their paintings, as well as those of Delpy, illustrate a harmony between humanity performing basic tasks and nature at its most picturesque. Indeed, a common vein of dignifying and elevating the daily chores of pastoral life unifies all these artist's laundry scenes. The glorious sunset in the current painting particularly illuminates the laundresses and creates a venerated, romantic vision of rural living.
Hippolyte Camille Delpy was born in Joigny in 1842 and was a student of the Barbizon painter Charles Francois Daubigny. It was Daubigny, a friend of the family, who took the young Camille along with him on his strolls. The child saw Daubigny paint and admired his creations, and from that point on, his only aspiration was to become a painter. In Paris, Daubigny introduced his young pupil to Corot, another famed Barbizon painter who later admitted Delpy into his studio.
In 1869, Delpy began to exhibit at the Salon. During this time, he also traveled extensively throughout the provinces, especially visiting Corot in Ville d’Avray, and Daubigny in Auvers-sur-Oise. In the 1870s, Delpy met Pissarro and Cézanne, who had a great impact on Delpy’s use of color, at Auvers. Although he remained faithful to the technique of Daubigny, Delpy’s interaction with these avant-garde painters brought a more vigorous touch and a greater intensity of color to his work.
Delpy’s first gallery exhibition was at the ‘Galerie des Artistes Modernes’ in Paris and it was surprisingly successful. He also exhibited in the ‘Exposition International,’ with DeNittis, Whistler, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, Renoir and Morisot. To find Delpy in this company clearly shows the esteem with which he was held.
Museum Collections Include:
Phoenix Art Museum, AZ; Brigham Young University Fine Arts Collection, Provo, UT; Beziers Museum, France; Louviers Museum, France