Eugène BOUDIN (1824-1898)

Boudin, a precursor of painting in the open air at a time where conventional painting was done in an atelier, declared, “three brush strokes from nature are worth more than two days at an easel”.
As the son of a sailor, his youth was spent in the mist and gusts of wind. He was familiar with both financial and psychological misery until 1859, the year of his move to Honfleur. Dumas’ son bought his work. Courbet encouraged him “You are the only person who knows the sky”. Baudelaire said of his pastels “We can imagine the season, the time of day and the wind”.

In 1860 he began to paint beach scenes called crinolines, elegant relaxed-looking friezes where the refined chromatics stands out from a background of sea and sky, which was the source of his fame.  In 1880 Durand-Ruel purchased all of his work. Boudin remained very attached to Normandy all his life. He was the painter par excellence of “wet suns”, “scrambled skies”, changing light, fugitive atmospheres, pearl grey and the lapping of ports and their large three-masted boats - infinite research themes.

He is the uncontested master of marine atmospheres and meteorological wonders as Baudelaire said. His simmering touch exalted the values of sketching and suggestion, effects that the impressionists, particularly Monet who became his friend, would amplify.
Monet liked to say “…if I became a painter, I owe it to Boudin”. All of impressionism’s modernity is visible in Boudin’s work ten years before the movement appeared and was recognised by critics.


Eugène Boudin
"Le Havre, le bassin du commerce" 1884
oil on panel 32 x 41 cm

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Eugène Boudin
"Honfleur, bateaux échoués près du rivage", 1873 
oil on canvas 36 x 58cm

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Eugène Boudin
"Scène de plage",
watercolor 17,3 x 25,7cm

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