MICHEL JEAN CAZABON
DATE OF BIRTH:September 20, 1813
PLACE OF BIRTH: Naparima, San Fernando Trinidad
DATE OF DEATH: November 20, 1888 Lapeyrouse Cemetery.
His paintings are to be cherished for not only their beauty but also their historical importance.
He was the son of Francis Cazabon, a mulatto migrant from Martinique. He was born at his parents' estate on the outskirts of San Fernando.
In 1826, he attended school at St. Edmund's College in Ware, England, he was 13 years old.
He returned to Trinidad in 1937 and lived with his mother in Port of Spain, then left with intention to study medicine in Paris, but switched to art and studied under Paul De La Rouce, one of France's most famous artists.
His work was displayed for the first time in 1839 at the Salon du Louvre in Paris. Between 1841 and 1842, he studied in Italy. Where be began to focus on painting landscapes, his work was repeatedly exhibited at the Salon du Louvre between 1843-1847.
He returned to Trinidad for a lengthy visit between 1845 -1850 with Rosalie Trolard his French born wife and children, and began painting some of the landscapes of north-west Trinidad, he returned to Paris in 1851 to publish a series of eighteen lithographs, "Views of Trinidad, 1851.
He became popular as a painter for not only of Trinidad scenery but of his portraits of the planters, merchants of Port of Spain and their families. He taught art and provided illuststrations of local events for English newspapers. His most important patron was Lord Harris, the English Governor between 1848 to 1854 recording many of his social functions and excursions. The Harris Collection of 44 paintings are now displayed at the family home at Belmont in Kent, England and is regarded as the most important collection of the nineteenth century.
There are several less extensive, but important collections which were commissioned by William Burnley the Scottish-American planter, John Lamont and the Earl of Dundonald. He published another series of eighteen lithographs of local scenes "Album of Trinidad" in 1857.
With the photographer Hartmann he published a series of sixteen lithographs entitled "Album of Demerara, and contributed one of the scenes in "Album Martiniquais, which was published by Hartmann and the lithographer Eugene Ciceri in 1860.
Between 1860 and 1862 moved his family to Saint-Pierre in Martinique to the home of his parents. Saint Pierre was at that time described as the Paris of the New World. He hoped that it would offer a metropolitian spirit that Trinidad lacked and provide a greater appreciation for his work. However he found much of the same attitudes and returned to Trinidad in 1870, where he taught art at Queen's Royal College and St. Mary's College.