Skip to main content

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.






Cazin-Village
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.





Cazin-Stone
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.

Popular posts from this blog

More Old Master Drawings

There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body.
Robert Henri








Charles Louis Müller, A Standing Female Nude Leaning Against an Arch, ca.1864

Once again I decided to talk about some Old Master drawings and delve into the thinking behind how these drawings may have been created and the knowledge of the artist. In the above drawing by Müller, done in sanguine with white chalk highlights, the figure is drawn from a low view-point, with her body twisting toward her left side while resting on one knee. Note how Müller alternates the bent right leg with the bent left arm to create dynamic contrast. The right arm is also foreshortened and partially in shadow. Expressing power and femininity, this is a study that is Renaissance in spirit, even Mannerist, revealing the female nude as sculptural yet always graceful.







Anton Raphael Mengs, Seated male nude viewed from the back, 1755

One of several Academic nude studies by Mengs, this …

Bouguereau

Nymphs and Satyr, 1873


If there is one artist today that hardly needs an introduction, it would be William-Adolphe Bouguereau, supreme giant of 19th century Academic art. Born on November 30, 1825 in La Rochelle on the southwest of France, his talent would define the era he lived in only to fall into obscurity for decades after his death in 1905 until as recent as the early 1980's, shockingly. Today he has the distinction of being lionized by the Art Renewal Center as one of the greatest artists of all time while at the other end of the spectrum vilified by modernists as artificially perfect and sentimental. In fact it is quite rare to see such polarization over an artist of a calibre like Bouguereau, whose bravura is difficult to equal yet at the same time thematically his work admittedly tends toward women and children, a subject matter that sold well and he had endless patience for. Over the vast array of his oeuvre, some 820 paintings, I have tried to find some of his very b…

Pompeo Batoni

Apollo and two Muses, 1719

Giant of the Rococo and early Neoclassicism, Pompeo Batoni was born on January 25, 1708 in Lucca, Italy. Immensely popular in his time, his name sadly is not commonly recognized today because like many Old Masters, his work is not defined by one or two singular masterpieces but by an oeuvre that is overall, incredible. Batoni is something of an anomaly in that he had the midas touch in every genre he worked in, whether portraiture, mythological, and biblical. He trained under a few painters, notably Sebastiano Conca yet he quickly fused his own style together by reinterpreting Classicism with his own vigor for dynamic posing, color and anatomy that he felt was lacking in many artists of the Rococo. His reputation as a portraitist in Rome was highly successful, particularly for many British patrons of the Grand Tour who had heard of Batoni by word of mouth and sought his genius.

In Apollo and two Muses above Batoni seems to conjure mythology and Classicism w…