Eugene Louis Boudin: Impressionism and the Sea

6 Jul

Eugene Louis Boudin, Antibes, The Point of the Islet (1893)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Beach Scene at Trouville, Sunset (date unknown)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Anyone, like me, who enjoys seascapes is a fan of Boudin.  Eugene Louis Boudin (1824-1898) is associated with the Barbizon School and was one of the first French landscape artists to paint outdoors.  A sailor’s son, Boudin had intimate knowledge of  life on the sea and seashore.  Upon his death he was eulogized by Baudelaire.  His friend Corot called him “the master of the sky.”

Eugene Louis Boudin, Approaching Storm (1864)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Étude de ciel sur le Bassin du Commerce au Havre (c. 1888-95)

Boudin was born at Honfleur, France, and as a young man worked in a small art shop where Claude Monet displayed his work.  It’s said that Boudin possessed a “sailor’s character”: frank, accessible and open.  In this respect he was similar to Corot.  Much like Corot he was beloved by the young Impressionists.

Eugene Louis Boudin, A Couple Seated on the Beach With Two Dogs (c. 1865)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Washerwomen on the Banks of the River Touques (c. 1880s)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Market Day at Trouville, Normandy (1878)

In 1850 Boudin earned a scholarship that enabled him to move to Paris to study.  He was deeply influenced by the 17th Century Dutch masters.  It was a then-contemporary Dutch painter, Johan Jongkind, who advised Boudin to paint outdoors (“en plein air“).  In 1859 Boudin met Gustave Courbet who introduced him to Charles Baudelaire — the first critic to call public attention to Boudin’s work.  He made his debut at the Paris Salon that same year.

Eugene Louis Boudin, Dutch Windmills (1884)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Princess Pauline Metternich (c. 1865-67)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Grande Dame, Bleu (c. 1860s)

In 1856-57 Boudin met the young Claude Monet, who spent several months working with him.  The two remained lifelong friends and Monet later paid tribute to Boudin’s early influence. Boudin participated in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.  Like Corot Boudin was one of the great catalysts of Impressionism.  Also like Corot, he never considered himself an innovator.

Eugene Louis Boudin, Figures on the Beach (1893)

Eugene Louis Boudin, The Beach at Trouville (1864)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Abbeville, Street and the Church of Saint Folfran (1892)

Boudin traveled extensively in the 1870s, visiting Belgium, the Netherlands, and southern France, and from 1892 to 1895 made regular trips to Venice. He continued to exhibit at the Paris Salons, receiving a third place medal at the Paris Salon of 1881, and a gold medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle. In 1892 he was (somewhat belatedly) made a knight of the Legion d’honneur.

Eugene Louis Boudin, The Beach at Villerville (1864)

Eugene Louis Boudin, The Meuse at Dordrecht (1892)

Eugene Louis Boudin, Boats on the Garonne (date unknown)

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