The Pont Neuf and the Quai des Orfèvres, from the Place du Pont Neuf
(Hippolyte-Camille Delpy)



Joigny 1842 – 1910 Paris

The Pont Neuf and the Quai des Orfèvres, from the Place du Pont Neuf

Oil on canvas: 29 by 39 inches (76.2 by 124.5 cm.)

Signed: H. C. Delpy 1875

Hippolyte-Camille Delpy studied with Daubigny as well as Corot. A contemporary of the Impressionists, he blended the subject matter that he adopted from Daubigny with the brighter colors and looser paint handling that were trademarks of his own generation to create distinctive new visions of many of the landscapes first explored by the Barbizon artists.

Delpy was born in Joigny. He became interested in painting when he met Daubigny around 1855, and in 1858 Daubigny took on Delpy as an informal student. During the summers, Delpy (who was close in age to Daubigny’s own son, Karl, also a painter) traveled with Daubigny 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; in December he 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, Corot’s favored country site, and in Auvers where Daubigny lived. He began friendships with Pissarro and Cézanne who shared his admiration of Daubigny. His Salon paintings of 1873 and 1874 were well received and in 1875, he exhibited a snow scene at the Salon for the first time and 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, with all 45 works sold. That summer he moved his family to Bois-le-Roi outside the Forest of Fontainebleau. At the Salon of 1880, he exhibited a potato harvesting scene, his first landscape 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. In 1886, he traveled to the United States as part of a team that painted a panorama of the battle of Manassas (American Civil War) in Washington D. C. At the Exposition Universelle of 1889, Delpy was awarded an honorable mention. 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.

This scene in the early morning is an example of Delpy’s interest in Parisian daily life, concentrating on the activities of ordinary people, not the wealthy or fashionable who populate the paintings of Jean Béraud. The Ominbus crossing the bridge, filled with workers, the beggar who has boldly placed himself in the place before the statute of Henri IV (not visible here), the waiter coming to meet a baker’s boy balancing his box of wares on his head, are all typical of the time and place. In the distance, across the left bank we can see the dome of the Panthéon, and beyond it the spire of the church of Saint Severin. The building at left has been refaced, giving it a more elegant appearance, but otherwise the view today is almost unchanged. The artist has given particular attention to the imposing shop of the well-known optician, Chevallier, whose window is filled with the instruments for which the business was famous. From a second floor window one can see a figure looking at the view using one of Chevallier’s telescopes.

29 by 39 inches
Oil on board
Historical Period
Realism to Impressionism - 1840-1900
Price band
$100,000 - $150,000