Eugene Boudin

Le port de Trouville

Oil on panel: 8.6(h) x 11.4(w) in /

21.9(h) x 28.9(w) cm

Signed and dated lower left: E Boudin 75; inscribed lower right: Trouville

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BX 126

 

EUGENE BOUDIN

Honfleur 1824 – 1898 Deauville

 

Le port de Trouville

 

Signed and dated lower left: E Boudin 75; inscribed lower right: Trouville

Oil on panel: 8 ⅝ x 11 ⅜ in / 21.9 x 28.9 cm

Frame size: 15 ½ x 18 in / 39.4 x 45.7 cm

 

Provenance:  

Richard Green, London, 1997

Private collection, The Netherlands

 

To be included in the new edition of the Catalogue Raisonné de l’oeuvre peint of Eugène Boudin being prepared by Manuel Schmit, archive ref. no. B-T.4345

 

 

Eugène Boudin is best known for sparkling beach scenes painted in the Normandy resorts of Trouville and Deauville, a motif which he explored with great subtlety from the early 1860s to the mid-1890s. Boudin was born in Honfleur, the son of a sailor, so the sea was in his blood. After studying in Paris from 1847 to 1854, he returned each summer to his beloved Normandy coast, sketching and painting from nature. In the autumn of 1884, Boudin and his wife Marie-Anne Guédès purchased a plot of land to the extreme west of Deauville, near the dunes, upon which they built and extended their Villa des Ajoncs, or Villa Marinette as Boudin called it, over the passing years. With this summer home established, Boudin continued to spend winter in his Parisian studio, preparing works for exhibition.

 

As well as painting fashionable holidaymakers on Trouville’s beach, lined by grand hotels and the Casino, Boudin painted many views of the port, the heart of the city which derived much of its prosperity from fishing. The port had been developed by the Duc de Morny (1811-1865), the illegitimate half-brother of Emperor Napoleon III, who built the large floating dock known as the Bassin Morny. In the 1870s, as many as 75 large fishing boats frequented the port of Trouville, employing between 700 and 800 fishermen and it was this industry that became a lively fascination for the artist. Unlike his predecessors, Jean Auguste-Gagnery (1778-1845) and Xavier Leprince (1799-1826) or contemporaries such as Jacques Gustave Hamelin (1809-1895), Boudin avoided life at the quayside, instead choosing to concentrate on the three-mast sailing ships, steamers, yachts and fishing boats that moved within the Trouville’s busy harbour.

 

As Vivien Hamilton notes, Boudin preferred, where possible, to avoid the noise and bustle of a working port, choosing to paint once its dockworkers and fishermen had returned home.[1] However, in this variant of his Trouville port scenes, the grand ships that dominate both the breadth of the harbour and the wider pictorial space, are tethered to smaller vessels busily ferrying fishermen to and fro. In Le port de Trouville, the elongated masts of the barques anchored in the midst of the port, hold firm the composition’s central line and stand tall as the principle subject, a small, scattered collection of tenders circulating the soft tides of the watery foreground below. This bright, airy, loosely brushed depiction of the port at Trouville is a fine example of the delicate paintings Boudin produced beneath the endlessly changing skies of the Normandy coastline.

 

 

Eugène Boudin, Trouville harbour, 1880                     Eugène Boudin, Harbour scene, 1873

Oil on canvas: 38.4 x 54.5 cm                                  Oil on panel: 24.1 x 32.4 cm

Manchester Art Gallery                                            Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

 

Eugène Boudin at Trouville-Deauville, June 1896

Photographer unknown

Musée Eugène Boudin, Honfleur

 

 

EUGENE BOUDIN

Honfleur 1824 – 1898 Deauville

 

Eugène Boudin was one of the most important precursors of the Impressionists, with his emphasis on working directly from nature and free, naturalistic brushwork. His ‘Crinolines’, depicting fashionable holidaymakers enjoying the beaches of northern France, ushered in a new genre, but he was also renowned for coastal and harbour scenes.

 

Born in Honfleur, Boudin was the son of a harbour pilot and bred to the sea, working as a cabin boy for his father in his boat Le Polichinelle. After a brief period of schooling, in 1835, he worked with a stationer and framer who displayed the work of artists, then set up his own stationery and framing business in 1844. Boudin’s clients included Thomas Couture, Eugène Isabey, Jean-François Millet and Constant Troyon, all of whom had an influence on his efforts to draw and paint. In 1847 Boudin went to Paris to copy Old Masters in the Louvre; he was particularly impressed by the seventeenth century Dutch school and by the Barbizon painters. In 1851 he was awarded a three-year painting scholarship by the city of Le Havre. He drew his subjects from the Normandy and Brittany coasts. In 1858 he met the young Claude Monet, who had grown up in Le Havre, and stressed to him the importance of making oil paintings directly from nature to capture the constantly changing beauties of the landscape. Boudin and Monet went on painting expeditions together, especially at the Saint-Siméon farm near Le Havre.

 

Boudin made his debut at the Salon in 1859, where his work was admired by Charles Baudelaire. He befriended Courbet, Daubigny and Corot, who heralded him as ‘the king of the skies’. Paris-based in the winter, Boudin spent his summers on painting tours around the coast of Le Havre, Honfleur and Trouville, inspired by the elegant society that flocked to the burgeoning seaside towns and by the busy maritime traffic. At Trouville in 1862 he met Johan Barthold Jongkind and, influenced by his boldness of technique, adopted freer brushwork and a brighter palette. The following year he married a Breton woman, Marie-Anne Guédès.

 

Boudin made several journeys to Belgium and The Netherlands, initially to shelter from the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). From 1892 to 1895 he visited Venice, making subtle, atmospheric and highly individual views. He also painted in the south of France at Antibes, Villefranche and Beaulieu, where he stayed in the 1890s for the health benefits of the mild winter climate. Boudin exhibited at the Salon from 1863 to 1897 and participated in the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. From the 1870s Boudin enjoyed increasing financial security. In the 1880s he was taken up by the influential art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, the champion of the Impressionists. Durand-Ruel organised exhibitions of his pictures in 1883, 1889, 1890 and 1891. In 1892 Boudin was awarded the Légion d’Honneur. He died in Deauville in 1898.

 

Works by Eugène Boudin can be found in the many museums worldwide including The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Gallery, London; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Musée du Louvre, Paris and The Hermitage, St Petersburg.

 

[1] Vivien Hamilton, Boudin at Trouville, London: John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., 1992, p.106.

ImpressionistEugene Boudin