French, 1841–1901


Cazin's earliest paintings reveal close affinities with the realist tradition, while his later compositions (mostly landscapes of northern France) demonstrate an awareness of Impressionism and a commitment to recording the changing effects of light and atmosphere. He was sent to England for health reasons but by 1862 or 1863 was living in Paris and active in avant-garde artistic circles. In 1863 he exhibited Recollections of the Dunes of Wissant, a work based on close observation of the coastline of northern France, at the Salon des Refuses. He enrolled at the École Gratuite de Dessin under Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, where he became friends with Alphonse Legros, Theodule Ribot, Henri Fantin-Latour and Leon Lhermitte, all of whom adopted Boisbaudran's method of developing paintings from memory as a way of heightening his perceptions. During this period Cazin also met Marie Guillet, whom he married in 1868.

By the mid-1860's Cazin had developed a varied career. He taught for about three years at the École Speciale d'Architecture in Paris, then moved to Chailly, near Barbizon, where he completed studies in the style of the Barbizon artists. These were shown at the Salons of 1865 and 1866. Later in the decade he became curator of the Musee des Beaux-Arts and director of the École Dessin in Tours. In 1868 he reorganized the school in accordance with the memory theories of Boisbaudran. He also valued Tours as a center of local industry that encouraged the decorative arts. Both Cazin and his wife were stimulated by this new environment and began to make and decorate stoneware ceramics.

In 1871, depressed by the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War, Cazin returned to England and earned a living at the Fulham Potteries, using salt-glaze in his stoneware and producing ceramics in the highly fashionable style of Japonisme. Cazin's commitment to ceramic decoration continued after his return to France in 1875, when he settled in Equihem, near Boulogne-sur-mer. This dedication to the decorative arts was recognized in 1882 when his large sandstone pieces, shown at the Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, were admired as significant examples of the developing renaissance of French pottery.

During the same period, Cazin began to paint again. His studies of the region near Boulogne encouraged him to execute numerous landscapes. By the early 1880s he had changed direction to produce large figural compositions intended for the Salon. The pastel colors are the product of Cazin's lighter palette and show the impact of the murals of Puvis de Chavannes. Cazin's enthusiasm for these scenes abated, however, and he returned to pure landscape painting, inspired by the countryside around the summer cottage rented by this family at Equihen. He executed a series of impressive landscape compositions of the dunes near Boulogne and won awards for some figural compositions at the Salon, most notably for his Ishmael of 1880. He was awarded the Legion d'honneur (for his ceramics and painting) in 1882, a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and a Grand Prix at that of 1900.

Museum Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Gallery, London
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Musée Jean-Charles-Cazin, Samer, Hauts-de-France

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Paintings for sale

Jean Charles Cazin Paintings Previously Sold

JEAN CHARLES CAZIN  Road by the Sea   Oil on canvas 22 x 18 inches (56 x 45.7 cm.)  SOLD

Road by the Sea

Oil on canvas
22 x 18 inches (56 x 45.7 cm.)

JEAN CHALES CAZIN    Windmills at Sunset   Oil on cradled panel 8¼ x 13 inches (21 x 33 cm)  SOLD

Windmills at Sunset
Oil on cradled panel
8¼ x 13 inches (21 x 33 cm)