Skip to content

Casier, Joseph

    Full Name: Casier, Joseph

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1852

    Date Died: 1925

    Place Born: Ghent, East Flanders, Flanders, Belgium

    Place Died: Ghent, East Flanders, Flanders, Belgium

    Home Country/ies: Belgium

    Subject Area(s): Antique, the


    Antiquarian; organized important early exhibion on the van Eyck. Casier was the son of Désiré Casier (1824-1815), joint owner of a textile company, Casier Frères, and Henriette Le Grand (1825-1899). He was raised in a conservative Roman Catholic home, tutored by his parents and parish priest. He attended the Ghent Sint Barbara College and then entered the Collège Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur where he graduated in 1870. Casier was awarded a Doctor of Rights (law degree) at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in 1873. His interest, however, was never in law. He joined the family business studying mechanics and industrial statistics, under Henri de Wilde at Ghent University. Casier became interested in archaeology and medieval art in Leuven. He studied under the bibliographer Father Augustin de Backer (1809-1873) and the theologian Edmond H. J. Reussens. Casier joined the Guild of St. Thomas and Sint-Lucas in 1877, whose interested was promoting strict archaeological history.He married Henriette Leirens (1856-1886) in 1878, daughter of a textile manufacturer from Aalst. Casier was fired from the family firm in Casier Frères, becoming a partner in 1883 in another textile mill in Aalst. By 1886 his wife and two of his four children had died and Casier watched as the declining economy closed his and many other textile mills by 1896. He then worked as an insurance inspector for the Flanders Royale Belge, supplementing his income in a glass window design studio. When the gothic revival architect Jean Baptiste Bethune (1821-1894) an exponent of the Guild, died in 1894, Casier took over. He began experimenting with photography, then a medium reserved for wealthy hobbiests. He published articles in the Bulletin of the Guild and in the Revue de l’Art Chrétien which included photographs and drawings by him. Casier began photographing church architecture and picturesque rural life. He was elected a member of the Association Belge de Photographie in 1890 and president by 1895, which he held with brief interruptions until 1904. Changes in the mission of the Catholic church’s social mission led Casier to membership in ‘Le Bien Public’ in 1885. With the mayor of Ghent, Emile Braun, he worked toward the historic preservation of Ghent, including the Castle of the Counts and the “cockpit” (the area around the St. Bavo’s Cathedral, the Belfry, St. Nicholas Church and the Town Hall). The 1912 death of Ferdinand van der Haeghen (1830-1913), known as “the father of archeology in Ghent,” Casier became chair of the Municipal Commission for Monuments. In his capacity, he promoted the restoration of the Gothic abbey and Bijloke in order to turn them into an archaeological museum. The World Exhibition in Ghent in 1913 was an opportunnity for Casier to launch the retrospective exhibition “L’Art Ancien dans les Flandres,” together with Paul Bergmans (1868-1935) and create a monument in honor of the brothers Van Eyck. Late in 1923 Casier was diagnosed with a heart condition. He continued his heady pace of research and succomed to a heart attack in 1925 from which he died serveral months later.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Bergmans, Paul. L’art ancien dans les Flandres (région de l’Escaut): mémorial de l’exposition rétrospective organisée à Gand en 1913. Brussels/Paris: G. van Oest & cie,1914; Les orfèvres flamands et leurs poinçons, XVe – XVIIIe. siècles. Ghent: Museum van Oudheden der Byloke/Commission des monuments et des sites de la ville de Gand, 1914; Le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Gand: Notice historique. Ghent: F.I. Vanderpsoort, 1922.


    Bergmans, Paul. “Notice sur la Vie et les Travaux the Joseph Casier (1852-1925).” Gent, 1925; “Inventaris van het Achief van de Familie Casirer.” KADOC,


    "Casier, Joseph." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: