Cozens, Alexander (kŭzˈənz) [key], c.1717–1786, English draftsman and writer, b. Russia. Cozens is thought to have been the first principal English master to work entirely with landscape subjects. He invented a system of "blot" drawings using accidental blots on drawing paper to aid his imagination by suggesting a landscape that could be further developed. In the 1950s his work was exhibited as that of a precursor of the abstract expressionists. He expounded his blot system in his treatise, A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape (c.1785). His son, John Robert Cozens, 1752–97, English watercolor landscape artist, is best known for his poetic paintings of the Alps and Italy. His work had an influence on both Turner and Girtin. Examples of his watercolors are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, and the British Museum (all: London).
See A. P. Oppé, Alexander and John Robert Cozens (1953).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies