Eugene Isabey

Caen – The Artists – Isabey, Eugene

This page forms part of a series of pages dedicated to the many artists who painted in Caen. A full list of all the artists with a link to their works can be found at the bottom of this page.

Eugene Isabey
Eugene Isabey

Movement(s): Romanticism

Eugene Louis Gabriel Isabey (1803 – 1886) was a French painter, lithographer and watercolorist in the Romantic style. He was born to Jean-Baptiste Isabey, a well known painter who enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial Family. Originally, he wanted to be a sailor, but his father insisted that he study painting; a turnabout from the usual situation where the family opposes an artistic career in favor of something more practical.

He shared a studio with fellow artist Xavier Leprince while living in Honfleur.

In 1831, he was chosen to accompany a diplomatic mission to Morocco, led by the Comte de Mornay, but he politely refused. He had just returned from a short trip to Algiers, where he had painted scenes of the Royal Navy’s campaign, and was concerned that the situation there was still too unsettled to make a lengthy stay. He was replaced by his friend, Eugene Delacroix, who created over 100 works that are now considered classics of Orientalism.

Shortly after, however, Isabey became a court painter for King Louis-Philippe and was named a Knight in the Legion d’Honneur in 1832. One of his best known paintings was done during this period, in 1840, depicting the return of Napoleon’s remains from Saint Helena aboard the Belle Poule.

During a trip to England, he was known to have studied the works of J.M.W. Turner. He was especially skillful at rendering subtleties in darker colors; which might be called a form of grisaille. He took in students on a regular basis; including Eugene Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind and Durand-Brager. In his later years, he turned from marine painting to historical scenes, usually of a violent nature, such as massacres, duels and robberies.

Click here to read Isabey’s full bio on Wikipedia.

Despite spending a large part of his life painting in Normandy, we found only one of his paintings dealing with the city of Caen.

NOTE: Click on the image below for a bigger version (no new window will open).

Eugene Isabey 1857-View-of-Caen
1857 – Eugene Isabey – View of Caen

Isabey painted several places in France (a link “” to his works will appear below when published):

Artists featured here who painted in Caen (but not limited to) are (a link “” will be placed next to an artist name when their works are published. A “*” means that the artist did NOT work in Caen itself, instead worked in nearby villages and towns):

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