Birth : 1841 in Mirecourt (Vosges) Death : 1923 in Paris (Ile-de-France)

Summary

Known as Collin-Mezin Père.

Biography

MEZIN was his mother's family name.

Career
Charles Jean Baptiste COLLIN-MEZIN probably started his apprenticeship at an early age with his father, Claude-Nicolas COLLIN, a violin maker whose signature can be found inside violins by Nicolas VUILLAUME (Sainte Cécile) and Nicolas François VUILLAUME of Brussels.
In the 1856 census, at the age of 15, COLLIN-MEZIN was registered as an apprentice violin maker in his father's workshop. He left his father in 1858 to go to Paris, but we do not know who he joined there.
In 1861, on his twentieth birthday, COLLIN-MEZIN was by then back in Mirecourt. From there he joined Nicolas François VUILLAUME in Brussels as his father had done before him.
In 1864, COLLIN-MEZIN married Rose Félécité AUBERT in Mirecourt and stayed there the two following years.

At the encouragement of Claude Auguste MIREMONT, a former pupil of his father who had established his workshop in Paris in 1860, JB. COLLIN-MEZIN left Mirecourt for the capital in 1867. There, at 14 and 18 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, he occupied the former address of RAMBAULT, who had by then retired in Mirecourt. This workshop was near MIREMONT’s workshop and  COLLIN-MEZIN remained there until 1876. After some difficult times at the outset, he gained a good reputation for the quality of his violins as well as for his restoration work with the soloists of his time, including SIVORI, MASSART, CHEVILLARD and JOACHIM.
After his wife's death in 1875 in Mirecourt, his son, Charles Louis stayed in Mirecourt with his grandmother MEZIN. COLLIN-MEZIN remarried Marie-Thérèze NIEU and subsequently moved his workshops to 10 Faubourg Poissonière in 1876, and to 29 Faubourg Poissonière in 1891.

Works
During his first Parisian years Ch. JB COLLIN-MEZIN kept a model which is highly influenced by Mirecourt and characterised by a large pattern, 360 mm and over, and a typical yellow-orange varnish. Generally instruments are one piece back of a large figured maple.
From the time he moved to 10 rue Faubourg-Poisssonière a decisive change has occurred. Size of violins are generally included between 355 and 358 mm, with some exceptions over. At that time the model lost his boldness to gain more classical outlines.
Back are in majority composed  of two pieces of a highly figured medium maple, coated with a fine and rich vanish of a golden-orange or orange-brown color. The purfling  becoming thicker and darker.
By the 1890's quality of wood changed again, and a large highly vivid maple is preferred. The varnish is also different, generally of a transparent yellow-brown color.

Label and stamps
Jean-Baptiste Collin-Mezin has always been a keen user of brands, stamps and labels.
Instruments are also signed directly to the inside back, by pencil or by ink depending on the period.
Indication of the date of making can be found both on the label and on the inside back.
We have hardly find any logical rule in these practises except that stamp is not found, after our experience, after 1878.

Workshops
1864-1867 Mirecourt
1867-1876 Paris 18 puis 14 rue Faubourg-Poissonière.
1876-1891 Paris. 10 rue Faubourg-Poissonière
1891 Paris. 29 rue du Faubourg-Poissonière

Honors and Awards
At the Paris International Exhibition of 1878, COLLIN-MEZIN received a silver medal for the quality of the varnish and the sonority of his instruments. In 1889, he was awarded the same prize, and in 1900 he finally received the first prize. COLLIN-MEZIN was an Officier of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Collaborators
COLLIN-MEZIN's collaborators included:
- BAZIN Gustave
- CHIPOT Joseph , known as CHIPOT-VUILLAUME
- COLLIN-MEZIN Charles Louis (fils)
- MANGENOT Paul Alexandre


Sources
- Rolland TERRIER. Colloque Historique. 2èmes Rencontres de Mirecourt Des 6 et 7 Mai 2000.
- Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers. René VANNES.
(More specfic publication references are available in our Bibliography section.)

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