Government buys 10 Cazabon paintings

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 00:00

The Government has acquired several original paintings done by late Trinidad and Tobago artist, Michel-Jean Cazabon for around TT$2 million dollars.

Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie says the painting were being auctioned at Christie's Auction House in London on October 29th this year but says the Government felt it was best to have the paintings acquired as part of the country's heritage.

He says the Government is making arrangements for them to be stored locally and adds that they will form part of an exhibition in 2016 where all the works will be unveiled.

The paintings are:

1. Maracas Valley, Trinidad - GBP 32,500 

2. Canon, North Post, Diego Martin, Trinidad - GBP 21,250

3. Landscape, Trinidad - GBP 10,625 

4. Five Islands from Carenage - GBP 20,000

5. Thatched Hut on a Cocoa Estate, Trinidad - GBP 22,500

6. Dry River, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - GBP 25,000

7. Tomb, Maracas Valley, Trinidad - GBP 22,500

8. Sunlit Diego Martin from Fort George, Trinidad - GBP 43,750

9. Governor's Residence, St Anns - GBP 21,250

At the new conference the Minister had also announced the following three paintings on his list:

10. Landscape with figures and horse by bridge - GBP 16,000

11. Navigating shallow waters in Caribbean - GBP 27,500

12. View of Trinity Church from Laventille Hill - GBP 50,000

That took the sum to approximately TT$3.16 million.

The Ministry of Communications would later send a statement correcting the Minister's error.

It stated,

"Today, Thursday December 10, at the Post Cabinet press conference, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie, Minister of Communications indicated that Government had acquired the paintings of Michel- Jean Cazabon. These ten paintings which were acquired via auction in the United Kingdom, were purchased at a hammer price of £191,500. Correction: Contrary to the earlier statement made by Minister Cuffie, the paintings “Navigating Shallow Waters in the Caribbean” and “View of Trinity Church from Laventille” were not acquired by Government at this auction."

The press release made no mention of the painting, "Landscape with figures and horse by bridge for GBP 16,000".

Checks to the Aution House showed that 11 paintings were sold on that day, including the two the Minister said the Government was unable to acquire.

Michel-Jean Cazabon (September 20, 1813 – November 20, 1888) is regarded as the first great Trinidadian painter and is Trinidad's first internationally known artist.

He is also known as the layman painter. He is renowned for his paintings of Trinidad scenery and for his portraits of planters, merchants and their family in the 19th century.

Cazabon's paintings have left a clear picture of the many aspects of life in Trinidad through much of the 19th century.