Caen 1835 - 1892 Paris
The art of Stanislas Lépine links the forerunners of Impressionism, including his teacher Corot and the naturalist Barbizon painters, with the Impressionists. He made his reputation with Parisian landscapes, particularly the Seine in its many moods, as well as the ports of Caen and Rouen, often seen by moonlight.
Lépine was born in Caen, Normandy in 1835, the son of a cabinet maker. At the age of eighteen he decided to dedicate himself to painting and made copies in the Louvre. He frequented artists’ studios and befriended Adolphe-Félix Cals (1810-1880) and Théodule Ribot (1823-1891). Lépine first exhibited at the Salon in 1859, the year he moved to Montmartre, where he remained for the rest of his life. He married his childhood sweetheart, Marie-Odile-Emilie Dodin, with whom he had three children.
Lépine was influenced by the broadly-handled marine paintings of Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and by the delicate, atmospheric works of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), with whom he studied in the 1860s. Quiet and modest, he avoided the more rumbustious artists’ meeting places, but went to the Bon Bock, patronized by Boudin and Sisley, and was acquainted with Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) and Edouard Manet (1832-1883). The latter painted a portrait of his wife. Lépine was highly regarded by fellow artists and a select group of collectors but struggled financially throughout his career. From 1864 he sold works through Pierre-Firmin Martin (known as Père Martin), who introduced him to his most important patrons, Count Armand Doria and Nicholas-Auguste Hazard. Martin was one of the moving spirits behind the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, in which Lépine participated.
Stanislas Lépine received a First Class medal at the International Exhibition in 1889. He died in 1892 at the age of fifty-seven, almost totally paralysed; he was so poor that his friends had to make a collection to pay for his funeral. After his death his work began to gain wider acclaim and a retrospective exhibition of his paintings was held at Durand-Ruel in December 1892.
The work of Stanislas Lépine is represented in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA; the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA; the National Gallery, London; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.