Eugène-Henri Cauchois was born on February 14, 1850 in Rouen, a city in the Normandy region of western France. In pursuit of an artistic career, he first began studying under Ferdinand Duboc and exhibited in the Salons of 1874 and 1875.
By 1876, Cauchois had partially relocated to Asnières, along the Seine, just outside of Paris. Between 1878 and 1879, Cauchois took up residence in Brussels, as well as Paris, and exhibited two paintings: Fleurs and La Pièce de la Resistance. He remained in Brussels until at least 1883 and, at some point between 1883 and 1887, returned to Paris after spending nearly four years in Brussels.
What does remain of Cauchois’ work at present, and what he is most remembered for, are his flower arrangements, many often painted in a series of decorative panels meant to be seen side by side. Perhaps Cauchois was inspired by the vertical compositions and love of nature in Japanese paintings, since much of this period saw an increase in the appreciation in Japonisme, and many artists began experimenting with new compositional formulas.
While the majority of Cauchois’ work which can now be found and purchased are his floral paintings, most of his Salon entries differ quite substantially in theme from these images. Some of these exhibited works suggest the diversity of his production, including: Une Collision près le Manneken-Pis, Salon of 1880; Église Abandonnée à Mézières, Salon of 1888; and La Toussaint en Croatie, Salon of 1895. It seems as if Cauchois’ more experimental work was exhibited at the Salons, while his other work, especially that of flower paintings, found a wide audience among collectors both during the late 19th century and into the 21st century.
Cauchois’ soft, colorful and lustrous still lifes reflect a strong influence from the great Impressionist artists of his time. Similar to the Impressionists, his canvases are painted layer upon layer with loose and fluid brush strokes.
In the mid 1890s Cauchois also began studying under Alexandre Cabanel, one of the most successful Academic artists of the period, in addition to Duboc, and by 1899 he had taken on a third teacher, Ernest Quost. Cauchois also began to work more and more on decorative panels, just as Quost did, and received several commissions for these larger works, such as that of four decorative panels representing flowers of the four seasons for the School of the 7th district in Paris.
Cauchois continued to exhibit regularly at the Salons until 1908, where he showed Le Train a Passé and Mélancolie. Cauchois died on October 11, 1911 in Paris.
Awards/Memberships: Medal of Honor, 1891 Third class medal, 1898 Bronze medal, Exposition Universelle, Paris, France, 1900 Second class medal, 1904 Société des Artistes Français, Paris, France
Exhibitions: Salon of 1874 Salon of 1875 Salon of 1876 Salon of 1880 Salon of 1888 Salon of 1895 Salon of 1908