Jean Charles Cazin
(1841 - 1901)
Oil on canvas
32 1/4 x 25 3/4 inches
We greatly appreciate Janet Whitmore's help in cataloging this work.
M. Knoedler & Co., Paris / New York
Thomas Barlow Walker, Minneapolis, Minnesota, c.1890
Gimbels, New York, 1946 (possibly purchased by Howard Hughes)
Robert Mochrie, late 1940s
By descent to Mary Mochrie
By descent, private collection, New Jersey, c.1980s
Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York City
Private collection, New York
Catalogue of the Art Collection of T.B. Walker
, 1907, No. 22, page 28, titled
A Pastoral Scene in Brittany
. Description reads: "Another characteristic home life scene among the peasant farmers of Brittany. The farmer, with his pick across his shoulder, calling to his wife who is sitting on the grass with a child in her arms, that it is time to return to their little home that is beyond the church with its tiled roof and belfry. The soft foliage of the grass, the shrubbery and the trees, and the tinted, soft brown gray sky, all together making up one of the finest, softest and most important of all the paintings that Cazin has ever produced."
The Walker Art Galleries, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Alphabetical List of Artists with Biographical Sketches
, Ruben H. Adams, Curator, 1927, No. 47, page 34, titled:
Pastoral Farm Scene in Brittany
, illustrated with detail photograph. Description reads: "A certain delicate tint among the shapely trees, a feathery and bewitching handling of the shrubbery, and the peculiar velvety softness of the grass, combined with the sweet rural simplicity, make up a wonderfully pleasing picture, and one whose pastoral beauty has seldom been surpassed."
Janet Whitmore, in her e-mail to our gallery, added the following:
Walker often did business with Knoedler in the 1880s and 90s and into the early 20th century. They had a falling out over a Gerome/Vibert painting exchange [the Gerome seems to be still missing] in 1901 and did not do business again until after WWI. In 1912 Virginie Demont-Breton inadvertently helped to create a thaw by sending a letter to Walker via Knoedlers in NYC. Throughout this period, Walker was buying Cazin paintings; ultimately he owned 16 of them and had a special gallery in his gallery just for Cazin.
I have copies of Knoedlers correspondence with Walker, but do not have a definite listing of this painting by title. My best guess is that this is one of the Cazin paintings that Walker purchased in the early 1890s. There is correspondence with Michel Knoedler from March 10, 1891 referring to "no news yet from Cazin; as soon as we receive anything from him, will let you know and if possible send you photographs". Then on October 7, 1891, another letter from Roland Knoedler saying "Cazin delivered two medium canvasses to us the day after I left Paris; we expect them next week." [presumably in the NY office]. On June 3, 1892, another letter from Roland Knoedler to Walker references that "Cazin is getting to be more and more difficult to obtain--everybody is after him--he is very popular--his exhibition at the new Salon is interesting though not very grand."
Walker stopped buying for a few years around 1893 when the US economy went into a recession, so my best guess is that your Cazin may have been purchased in the early 1890s.
After Walker's death in 1928, the collection languished because of the Depression and because of some poor decision-making on the part of his heirs. In 1939, the Federal Arts Project [WPA program] was granted temporary control of the Gallery by the Walker family. Daniel Defenbacher became Director of the Gallery. In 1943, the WPA returned control to the Walker family, but Defenbacher continued as director. He and Hudson Walker [TB's grandson] decided to change the focus of the Gallery to "modern art", and in 1946, sold 144 of Walker's painting at Gimbels in NY. The Cazin painting was one of five Cazin's that were sold there.