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Marie Cazin, Forgotten Impressionist

A Street in Normandy, ca. 1924

Born on the 19 of September in 1844 in western France, Marie Cazin was a French landscape painter and sculptor. Although little of her works appear online and she is often overshadowed by her artist husband, Jean-Charles Cazin, Marie was a painter of incredible mood and light. The period in which she was active was dramatic itself in that the established and conservative Salon of Paris was slowly loosing its stronghold on art and artists while Impressionism was beginning to emerge as a new art form. Cazin exhibited also in England and Belgium, where she found a herself as a painter that could capture the French countryside and sculpt people with equal brilliance.

In A Street in Normandy above, Cazin utilizes a distinct brushstroke that is not exactly Impressionist nor Post-Impressionist, but her own unique style. That warm faint glow of the sky in the distance between the buildings is poetry. What I admire about this painting also is how despite the monochromatic palette she manages to infuse warmth and depth with a contrast of earth hues and rich darks, with bright whites in the distance. Typically, many artists today and even many instructors, would consider this palette "mud" but the way in which Cazin creates mood here, ignoring details and focusing on tone and light alone, is magical.

Village Among the Trees, ca. 1920

Sadly I could not find a higher resolution image of this beautiful painting, but it is worth studying anyway for its use of color and tone. Houses are deeply nestled within a grove of dark green trees. Evidence of her amazing brushwork is evident here, and in the variety of hues she adds to the greens. That sky above is a cool, milky tone, almost white, and it intensifies the greens below. The vertical strokes of the grasses in the foreground are a nice counterbalance with tints of yellow, green and blue. This is pure en plein air painting.

Stone Yard, ca. 1920's

Here Cazin uses an unusual warm grey sky that defies description. This contrasts with the sharp edges of the buildings and stone blocks below, painted in a hay or straw-like tone. Although not as visually intriguing as her other works, it has a unique presence and mood that inspires all of us to paint scenes that are not always picturesque or colorful.

A Lane

Cazin's brushwork is almost palpable here. One can sense the breeze in this late afternoon scenic park. I like the way she scumbles warms and greens along that path to make it look totally natural. That dark reddish tree behind the figures in the background also reinforces the late afternoon and I love how we can see the whiteness of the sky in between the branches, as well as the central tree where she uses yellows to enhance the glow of a sunset approaching soon. In certain areas her greens are flat and nearly grey, yet they do not detract in any way. The sky is a faint grey white with a hint of pink in the far horizon, and I love that it hints at the approach of sunset while maintaining the overcast mood of the scene.

Cazin's work is powerful in both simplicity and confidence in her approach to color and tone. She deserves to be regarded alongside Monet, Corot and others for her interpretation of mood and presence of the landscape. She inspires and teaches merely by looking at her art, something that any legacy as an artist is worth valuing.


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