Eugène Boudin (12th July 1824 – 8th August 1898)


“Everything that is painted directly and on the spot has always a strength, a power, a vivacity of touch which one cannot recover in the studio... three strokes of a brush in front of nature are worth more than two days of work at the easel.”

Quote from Eugene Boudin's sketchbook; as quoted in Boudin at Trouville, by Vivien Hamilton, exh. Catalogue, London John Murray Ltd., 1992, p. 16

One of France’s most celebrated landscape artists, Eugene Boudin hailed from Honfleur in Normandy. The sea and big skies inspired him to paint outdoors ‘en plein air’. This revolutionary style of painting was made possible by new portable easels and the invention of paint in tubes. In addition to the natural landscapes, Boudin’s paintings included well-heeled tourists, who took advantage of the railway expansion to the seaside resorts.


 It was Boudin who recognised the enormous artistic talent of Claude Monet, 15 years his junior, and who guided and encouraged him to paint en plein air. 

"As to the 'king of skies', I think I've already told you that I consider Eugène Boudin to be my master.  I became fascinated with his sketches, daughters of what I call instantaneousness."

Claude Monet, 1920, to his biographer Gustave Geffroy; quoted in exhibition text: 'Eugène Boudin', ed. Christoph Bode, Musée Jacquemart-André, 201

In Boudin’s own words: “I am a loner, a daydreamer who has been content to remain in his part of the world and look at the sky. The future will treat me as it does all of us. I am very much afraid it may be oblivion.”

Eugene Boudin, as cited by Dalya Alberge, in 'Life's a beach: Boudin...' in 'Independent online', 9 February 1993.

It certainly wasn’t oblivion – Boudin was made a knight of the Legion of Honour in 1892 and remains one of France’s most celebrated artists.  There is a museum in his honour in his native town of Honfleur.



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Seaside after Boudin
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