Lépine, Stanislas



Impressionism: partaker of the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874

Stanislas Lépine


a landscapist at the edge of Impressionism

depicting riverviews, Montmartre and more

Was Stanislas Lépine an Impressionist?
Stanislas Lépine only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. He had not many contacts with the ‘impressionists’. He probably had contacts with Boudin, Cals, Colin, Vignon and Rouart, but probably not intimate. He almost yearly exhibited at the Salon. This makes him just a side-figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
When we look at his painting style Lépine more than once tried to render the effect of sunlight and also the influence of weather and the time of day. His brushstroke can be lively, but mostly is quite smooth and seldom juxtaposed. His palet can be bright, but mostly is more greyish and subdued. Lépine doesn’t render bluish or violet shades. So his painting style is more realistic with impressionist influences.

Stanislas Lépine only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition:
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 (=1IE-1874) Lépine showed 3 works (catalogue numbers 81-83) (R2,p121). Lepic showed 2 riverviews and 1 streetview.
Lépine was invited (by Degas) as one of the respectable painters, so the exposition wouldn’t look to revolutionary (R6,p113). Schurr states that Lépine was barely noticed (R9), but there are at least 6 art-critics who mention him (shortly) and mostly positive (R87;R90I). Cardon (1874/04/29) reviewed: ‘Lépine is a young landscape painter with a great future, a conscientious artist.’ (R2,p129;R87,p263).  Burty (1874/04/25) reviewed his and other works as ‘more moderate, but no less brave’ (R87,p262). Chesnau (1874/05/07) stated that painters like Lépine ‘who lurk at the tail end of the latest Salon banalities’ shouldn’t have been invited to exhibit (R87,p268/9;R89,p31;R22I,p107).
Walther (R3) mentions Lépine was a member of the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc, Keller seems to affirm this (R19,p35), but Moffett doesn’t mention him as co-founder (R2,p105). Sure is that, probably in 1873, he signed a petition asking for the right to vote for the election of the jury to all the artists that exhibited the year before (at the Salon) (aR4,p19/20). One source states that Lépine thought that the ‘scandal’ of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition wasn’t good for his carreer and therefor he stopped exhibiting with them (aR6).
See link for the paintings and an account.

Stanislas Lépine at the Salon:
Before and after Lépine exhibited with the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 he almost yearly exhibited at the Salon. His debut was in 1859, where he was hardly noticed (R9;R3;R16;R87). He almost yearly exhibited from 1859-1889 at the Salon (=S) and it’s successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français (=SdAF), except in 1861 +81 + 87 (R1;R21). In 1873 one work was rejected and Lépine exhibited it at the Salon des Refusés (=SdR) in 1873 (iR1;R21). Was this a motivation to join the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874? In total Lépine exhibited 35 works at the Salon (iR1;aR2; note: Schurr & Cabanne (R9) suggest he was alternately accepted and refused, which isn’t correct). Lépine received an honorable mention in 1884 (iR23;aR5) and in 1889 he was awarded a third-class medal (R21,p279;aR2;aR8). In 1891 he exhibited at the alternative Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (=SNBA) (iR1), the next year he would die. In 1889 Lépine had exhibited 2 paintings at the Exposition Universelle (at the Oeuvres d’Art) and received a golden medal (R231/iR40;R9;iR3;aR1;R3;aR5). In 1900 at the Centennale of the Exposition Universelle 3 paintings were exhibited (R231/iR40).
Most of the works exhibited have an indication of place and some an indication of weather (snow) or time of day (moon effect). (iR1)
See link for an account and an impression of the pictures he exhibited at the Salon.

Stanislas Lépine at other exhibitions:
Lépine exhibited at several regional exhibitions. He also joined the independant exhibitions of the Groupe des Artistes Indépendants in May 1884 and the Salon de la Société National des Beaux-Arts in 1891.
Durand-Ruel started to represent his work from 1870 (R21;aR6). Lépine exhibited 2 works (Le pont Saint-Michel + clair de lune à Paris) in 1886 in New York at the great exhibition of ‘impressionists of Paris’ organised by Durand-Ruel (aR2;R1,p531+544;R3). He exhibited 3 works in New York in 1887 at an auction / exhibition by Durand-Ruel (R116,I,p56). Lépine exhibited at Durand-Ruel with other impressionists in 1888 (R22,I,p241;R102,p283). Along side the Exposition Universelle in 1889 Durand-Ruel organised an exhibition with works of his ‘champions’, including Lépine (R116,I,p214). Posthumous starting 1892/11/28 there was an ‘Exposition rétrospective d’oeuvres de S. Lépine’ at the Durand-Ruel gallery in Paris (iR26;iR5;iR65;iR14). There have been larger posthumous exhibitions in Paris in 1949 + 52 + 68 (iR24;iR65). Posthumously works of Lépine were exhibited at at La Libre Esthétique in 1910 and at the Centennial exhibition in Saint-Petersbourg in 1912.

Stanislas Lépine as an artist; his education and contacts:
Lépine probably first was an autodidact (aR2;iR70;iR6) and copied at the Louvre (aR2). Couper assumes a long and concientious traineeship (aR4,p15). Other sources mention that from 1854-56 Lépine visited several studios and became friends with Cals and Théodore (or Théodule) Ribot (aR1;aR2;R9,p618). Lépine admired Ribot and was part of the commitee that organised a retrospective in 1891 (aR4,p18). The friendship with Cals isn’t affirmed by other sources (aR4,p19;R152). At the Salon (1866-89) and the Exposition Universelle (1889) Lépine was called a pupil of Corot (iR1;R231/iR40). Some sources mention that Lépine did meet Corot in Normandy in 1859 (iR3;aR1); others that his friend Dutilleux (who died in 1865) arranged their acquintance (aR4,p15); others that Lépine visited the studio of Corot from 1860-75 and also copied some of his works (iR4;R16;R9;iR1;R3;R21;R87;iR24;iR69;R61,p35;R60,p54;R259;aR4,p15). Lépine met in Corot his studio Fantin-Latour, who would become his friend and financial supporter (R21;iR5). Lépine had contacts with other Barbizon painters (R21). Lépine was influenced by Jongkind; especially in how to paint ships accurately, to render the depth of the sky and the clarity of waves (aR2;iR70;R9;R3;R21;R87;iR24;iR6;aR1) and I also think how to paint moonlights. It is unclear if they had any contacts (aR4,p17). Lépine was also influenced by (and had friendship with) Boudin (R21;iR69), but there are no sources referring to this friendship (aR4,p19). Lépine was inspired by Charles François Daubigny (iR69). Lépine was befriended with Ernest Auguste le Villain (iR69). Lépine was befriended with Charles Ricada; their correspondence between 1885-91 is preserved, but doesn’t contain much interesting information (aR2;aR4,p14); Ricada also collected his works (R240/iR40;aR4). Lépine also met Manet, who portrayed his wife in 1878 (aR2;R88,p443). In sources on the most famous ‘impressionists’, including their correspondence, Lépine is not mentioned (aR4,p19).

In the store of Père Martin, at the Rue Mogador, Lépine did meet Henri Rouart, Count Doria, Cals, Vignon, Jean-François Millet and Corot (aR4,p14;R45). Père Martin sold works of Lépine (aR2). Count Armand Doria, became his main patron (aR2;aR1;iR69;R87;iR4;aR4,p17), collected his works (R9;R232;R154) and invited Lépine (and also Cals, Colin and Vignon) at his castle ‘Orrouy’ in the Oise (aR4,p17;R75;R152;iR69;R16;iR4). Maybe this was only on sundays, because Lépine didn’t made pictures in these surroundings (aR4,p17). Henri Rouart also collected his works (R9;aR2;R45). So did Félix Gérard, Hazard and Tavernier (aR2;iR14). Durand-Ruel started to represent his work from 1870 (R21;aR6).
In 1874 Lépine being a delicate Corot-pupil and landscapist, had already found resonance (R3,p136), but he never made a large success (R9) and he didn’t sell many works (R3). Lépine held 5 or 6 public sales at Hôtel Drouot in Paris from 1872-86: 1874/02/11 (32 works); 1875/03/27 (or the 17th) (23 works sold for 135 à 930 francs; in total 7180 francs, averaging 312 francs; this was less than works of Morisot and Monet shortly after); 1879/02/07; 1881/02/14; 1886/03/15 (iR65;aR2;R21;R3;R9;aR6;R241).
Some write that Lépine stayed ignored by his contemporaries (R87), others that he received great respect by his fellow-artists (iR5). Others that he lived isolated from the artistic circles (aR2). Probably he didn’t or hardly frequented the cafés where the other Impressionists gathered (aR4,p13). He wasn’t portrayed by his colleagues (aR4,p13). Anyway he had a modest caracter (aR4,p12+14;aR8). He was quite poor (aR4,p12). Through his life Lépine only knew a modest success (aR4,p13). Lépine died poor. Rouart launched a collection to help pay for the funeral, settle the debts and support the widow; Pissarro helped with 50 francs (R116I,p239;R3;R21;R74;iR5;aR2;R88).

Stanislas Lépine as an artist, his painting style:
Most sources mention his delicate painting style, using a greyish tonality: Lépine used many grey tones and used delicate colours (R9). He used nuances of delicate grey tones (R16;iR4). He used a greyish tonality (iR70). He also used many warm browns (R16). He used a limited range of colours (iR5). He rendered subtle hues of light (R9). He often painted several versions of a painting, in which he recorded the interaction of various appearances of air, light and water (R21). He shared the impressionists’ interest in atmospheric effects (iR6). He used remarkable effects of light (aR2). His works displayed a tendency to experiment with intense and bright colours, but he avoided violent colours (aR2). Lépine painted in a calm tonality, without exaggerated colour highlights (aR8). His works render a sensible and emotional poetry (R9;R74). He managed to capture a great intimacy in the landscap and the mysterious life of a city, a street or a river. (R74,p199). Adler marks his ‘gentle tonal landscapes and cityscapes’ (R89,p31). He rendered the atmosphere with great delicacy (aR6). He used a subtle light that blurred the contours of the forms (aR6). One source, more alternate, state that Lépine used his paint generous and applies it with great boldness on the canvas (R16;aR2).
Lépine his work is regarded between Pre-Impressionism and Impressionism (iR5). Some sources emphasize the one or the other: His landscapes can be seen as precursors of the impressionist landscapes (R16;R74;aR1;aR2;iR4). He mostly painted realistic and in the style of the Barbizon school (aR1;aR5). Spiess ranks him between the forerunners of the Impressionists (R16). “His preference for a palette of soft colors distinguishes him from his more flamboyant Impressionist friends, but he shared with contemporaries such as Boudin and Jongkind a natural sensitivity to the complex tonal effects that characterized France’s northern waterways.” (aR7=iR14). Others define him as an impressionist painter (iR5).
Lépine his style did not change significantly throughout his career (aR2). He painted some themes several times and often did not date his paintings, this makes dating and discerning a development hard to do (aR2). Lépine painted mostly in his studio from the drawings and studies which he made en-plein-air (aR2). His moonlights are recognised as his speciality (aR1). He did some portraits and still-lives (aR2). But most of all he was a landscapist. Lépine mostly painted views of Paris and surroundings (R3;aR2), especially of Montmartre. His favorite subject was the Seine (iR3;aR2). He didn’t travel much, except regular returns to Caen and the Normandy coast (in the summer), often making stopovers in Rouen (surely in 1881, probably 1877 + 78 and probably more often). Furthermore he made one picture in Chartres (about 90km south-west of Paris) and two in Reims (140km north-east of Paris) (aR4,p12;iR9;R9;aR2;aR7). (Also see the link for a topographical overview).
Some works that were not made by Lépine maybe after his death have received a stamp by his widow (iR65).

Stanislas Victor Édouard Lépine, a short biography:

  • 1835/10/03: Lépine was born in Caen (iR24;aR4;iR3;R9;R3;R21;R74;aR2). Dayez (wrongly) writes that Lépine is born in 1836 (R87).
  • His father was a cabinet maker (aR1;aR2).
  • 1859ca: married Marie-Odile-Emilie Dodin (aR4;iR4;aR2).
    They had 3 children (aR2;aR4)
  • 1859: Lépine moved to Montmartre, where he would live most part of the rest of his life (except from 1870-73 and 1888-91). In 1863 Montmartre would become a part of Paris and now is part of the 18th arrondissement (aR4,p10;iR9).
  • 1859-70: He lived Chaussée Clignancourt, 20, (now: Rue de Clignancourt) Paris (Montmartre) (iR1;aR4;aR2;iR4). He still lived here 1870/04 (R259), but the Salon database mentions he lived 1870/05 at Rue des Rosiers (iR1). Note: Couper wrongly mentioned he lived here till 1874, but this seems a misprint (aR4,p11). Other sources mention Lépine installed himself in Paris  in 1855 (iR4;aR6).
  • 1867/04/18: his daughter Marie Louise Odile was born (aR4,p10)
  • 1870-73: He lived at rue des Rosiers, 12 (in the 4th arrondissement) (iR1).
  • 1874-86/87: He lived at rue de la Fontenelle, 40 (Montmartre) (now: Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre) Paris (iR1;aR4,p11;iR4;iR9), near the Sacré Coeur; this probably was a small house (aR4,p11).
  • 1878/11/15: His son Emile Louis Stanislas was born (he would die after 1928) (iR127;aR4,p10)
  • 1879: sale at Hôtel Drouot of 25 of his paintings, including 9 depicting Rouen (aR4,p12)
  • 1886/03/15, sale at Hôtel Drouot of ’tableaux + 24 études par Lépine’, and works of other artists (link to iR40//bpt6k1242132p)
  • 1888/07/23: in a letter to Ricada Lépine wrote about his ‘eldest son’, so Lépine must have had a second son, who probably died young (aR4,p10)
  • 1888-91: he lived at 38, Rue Milton (iR1); in the 9th arrondissement (iR9); maybe he moved here already in 1887 (aR4,p11)
  • 1890/91: Georges Lecomte wrote an article about Lépine in ‘L’art dans les deux mondes’ (iR70). He stated that Lépine was one of the first to contribute to ruin the academic landscape by learning how to render the effects of light and atmosphere (aR2).
  • 1892/09/28: Lépine died at 18, Rue de Clignancourt, at the east border of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement (aR4,p11;iR9;iR4;iR127;iR24;iR3;iR70;R9;R3;R21;R74).
    In a review (1892/09/30) is mentioned that Lépine had moved here because of the illness that preceded his death (aR4,p11).
    Some sources write he died the 29th (R116,I,p239;aR2), what probably is the date of the death certificate.
  • 1892/11/28 – 12/17: Exposition rétrospective d’oeuvres de S. Lépine at the Durand-Ruel Galerie in Paris (iR26). The catalogue contained a preface by Emile Cardon (aR4,p11).
  • 1893/03/20+21: posthumous sale at Hôtel Drouot of the Charles Ricada collection, containing 25 paintings of Lépine; 12 of them were sold for an average of 780fr, varying from 410 till 1600 (R240/iR40).
  • 1899/05/04: posthumous sale of the Count Armand Doria collection, including works of Lépine; in the catalogue was a preface by Arsène Alexandre (aR4,p12;R232;R154)
  • 1900/05/14: an auction sale at Hôtel Drouot (with Durand-Ruel as expert) on behalf of the widow Lépine; Pissarro donated a painting (CCP1194), which is soled for 970 francs. Also works sold of Cassatt, Degas, Guillaumin, Renoir and Carrière, Delacroix, Denis, D’Espagnat, Dinet, Fantin-Latour, Guys, L’Hermitte, Luce, Mauffra and Meunier. In total 28 oil paintings and 27 other works. (iR65;R116I,p295).
  • 1910ca: his widow died; there is no information of an auction sale then (iR65).
  • 1912/12/9-11: posthumous sale of the collection of Henri Rouart, including 12 paintings by Lépine (R45)


In sources on Impressionism Lépine is not or hardly mentioned. Even sources like Adler (R89), archive.org (iR19), BNF (iR26) and gallica (iR40) hardly profide information. Just a single painting of him can be found in books on Impressionism. My main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p675), Pool (1987=R6), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p469), Spiess (1992=R16,p50+51), Belloli (1990=R17,p110), Krämer (2015=R21,p279), Wildenstein (1996=R22I), Maillard (1968=R74,p198/9), Dayez (1974=R87,p240), Adler (1988=R89), Berson (1996=R90), Pissarro&Durand-Ruel (2005=R116), the Salon database, Wikipedia (iR3-6), RKD (iR24), BNF (iR26;iR40), marques (iR65), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional references (=aRx). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-Athenaeum (iR2), Wikimedia (iR6), Mutualart (iR11), Artnet (iR13), Sothebys (iR14), Christies (iR15), Joconde (iR23), the eclecticlight (iR35=aR1), auction.fr (iR45), Tutt’art (iR204), and the additional References (=aRx). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading:
Couper, John: Stanislas Lepine (1835-1892); sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1969. (96p.; in French). (iR24)
Schmitt, Robert &Manuel: Stanislas Lépine: Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint. Paris, 1993. (403p.; in French) (=R208;iR24).
Bénézit (1978,vol.6,p595=R75;1999,vol.8,p539-540=R76); Busse (1977,p753=R77); Witt (1978,p174=R78); Thieme/Becker (1929,vol.23,p102=R79); Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (1999, vol.6,p200) (iR24)


Additional references:

  1. vanished impressionists 7 (an article on Lépine and others by the eclecticlight=iR35)
  2. rehs.com (a biography of Rehs Gallery on Lépine)
  3. “Stanislas Lépine.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Oct 28, 2019. http://exhibitions.univie.ac.at/person/ulan/500028398  =iR261; overview of contributions of Lépine in exhibitions and auctions from 1905-1915
  4. gallica.bnf.fr/bpt6k3399187v (John Couper: Stanislas Lépine, 1835-92, sa vie son oeuvre. Paris, 1969; accessible till page 21; =iR40)
  5. www.pop.culture.gouv.fr//Lépine (short biography on Joconde (=iR23) cited from Couper (=aR4)
  6. www.pop.culture.gouv.fr//Lépine2 (short biography on Joconde (=iR23) by Jean-Pierre Mélot)
  7. www.sothebys.com//Lépine//2006 (info on Lépine; =iR14)
  8. gallica.bnf.fr/bpt6k2135895 (necrology on Lépine in the Revue Universelle of 1892; editor George Moreau; =iR40)
  9. thierrydemaigret.com/2021/lepine (at the auction of 2021/06/11 22 works of Lépine were auctioned, including many portraits (of his family); also visible at auction.fr//lepine =iR45)
  10. galerieballesteros.fr/lepine (this gallery in Saint-Ouen shows a street view made by Lépine with beautiful details)
  11. travelfrance.tips/caen-lepine (beautiful pictures of Lépine made in Caen + some information)



Recommanded citation: “Partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition: Stanislas Lépine (1835-92) a landscapist at the edge of Impressionism, depicting riverviews, Montmartre and more. Last modified 2024/01/28.  https://www.impressionism.nl/lepine-stanislas/


Note: additional info and pictures will be added.