Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Pierre Jean Edmond Castan (1817-92)

Figure 1.--This 1866 oil on wood panel was painted by French genre artist Pierre Jean Edmond Castan. He Depicts a new cabin boy on the deck of a ship. Ships at the time were still mostly sai ships. The boy is looking back at the port and home he has just left, presumably waving goodbye to his mother. There is anothercabin boy at the left side with an older man smoking a pipe. Many of Castan's paintings feature children, sometimes in bitter-sweet situations like this one. .

Edmond was born in Toulouse a port city in Haute-Garonne. He showed an interest in drawing from an early age. He was a student of Drolling in Paris and Gérard. He entered the Salon of French Artists in 1868 at a rather elevated age. He produced mostly genre works (1870s-80s). He focused mostly on the common moments of peasant and humble, but not poverty stricken families -- concentrating on indoor scenes. There are many lovely, warm family scenes mostly at home. He produced several intimate scenes of children's games and other aspects of family life. We note the peasant children playing Blind Man' Buff. Often they are very sensitive realtions between family members, usually children and their mother. Most boys still worked in the 19th century. While Castan mostly pained children around home, we notice the image here os a new cabin boy. But even here there is a conection with home. He is wistully waving goodbye to mother. Castan also did some portatits, mostly in the late 1870s. He is recognized a fine technique and many fine details which interest art historians. Thee are many Castan websites, but mostly galleries selling his many works. We haved found very little biographical information. One intersting fashion aspect of his many works deocting children are the boys of all ages are wearing long pants. This despite the fact that families in comfortable familes tended to outfit boys in dresses. And beginning at mid-century fashionable city families had begun dressing boys in various styles of shortened length pants--at first only youngrr boys as we can see here (figure 1). But by the end of the century older boys as well. We do not see any of this in Casran's many images of peasants and other modest income families.


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Created: 5:40 AM 10/31/2019
Last updated: 5:40 AM 10/31/2019