Eugene Louis Boudin
(1824 - 1898)
Eugene Louis Boudin was active/lived in France. Eugene Boudin is known for plein-air marine painting, coastal scenes.
Eugene Louis Boudin
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Biography from the Archives of askART
One of the earliest French plein-air painters, Eugéne Boudin became
known for his marine scenes, especially people and boats along the
shores, and for the expansive skyscapes of these canvases. He
worked in oil and pastel.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Boudin was born in Deauville, Honfleur, Normandy. His father was
a sailor, and as a young man, he worked as a cabin boy on a steamer
that sailed on the Seine River between Havre and Honfleur.
However, he lost interest in making that activity his life's work, and
became especially interested in art when in 1835, his father gave up
being a sail and became a frame-maker. Boudin became an assistant
in his father's shop, and in that capacity met numerous artists working
in the area including Jean-François Millet, Thomas Couture and Constant
Tryon. Couture was especially encouraging to the young Boudin to
become a dedicated artist, which he did at age 22 when he started
painting full time and left the job with his father.
Boudin began traveling around France, and in 1850 when he was age 26,
he received a scholarship that allowed him to move to Paris. He
became much influenced by 17th Century Dutch masters. Meeting the
Dutch painter, Johan Jongkind (1819-1891), regarded as a forerunner of
the Impressionism of Claude Monet, Boudin was exposed to plein-air
painting and encouraged by Jongkind to pursue it. With Jongkind
as his friend, Boudin entered a circle of artists including Gustave
Courbet, who, in turn introduced him to Charles Baudelaire, highly
influential critic who began publicly praising Boudin and reinforced
him in 1859, when Boudin made his debut at the Paris Salon. He
became a frequent Salon exhibitor, winning a third-place medal in 1881
and a Gold Medal in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle. Three
years later he was made a knight of the Légion of Honor.
Two years earlier, Boudin met Claude Monet, who then worked with Boudin
in his studio and became a life-long friend. In 1874, Boudin
joined Monet and other Impressionists in the first exhibition of works
in that style. However, Boudin did not consider himself nor did
others consider him to be as radical as Monet and some of his followers.
As Boudin's career evolved, he traveled extensively beginning in the
1870s, and made frequent trips to Venice, Belgium, the Netherlands and
southern France. Towards the end of his life, he suffered ill
health and knowing the end was near, returned to his hometown of
Deauville to die within view of the water he loved so well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugène_Boudin (Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition; Gustave Cahen, Eugene Boudin)
Biography from Vallejo Gallery LLC
The following was written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
Louis Boudin was born in Honfleur, France on July 12, 1824, the son of a pilot. His father gave up the sea and the family moved to Le Havre. Soon after, Boudin stopped going to school and took a clerk's job in the printer's shop, drawing and painting at every free moment.
His first contact with the world of French artists came when he was twenty. With an older partner he opened a small stationery store that specialized in artists' supplies and the framing of pictures. In those days the picturesque city of LeHavre was a favorite resort for artists and through his little business he met Troyon, Millet and Courbet.
Boudin went to Paris to study; in 1850 he received an annuity from the township of Le Havre which would permit him to study in Paris for three years. Each year he sent back to the museum in Le Havre one or more pictures, but his success was not brilliant and the committee did not renew its confidence. After a short time he returned to his native town.
He was a follower of Corot and in his turn became the master of Monet. Boudin was a leader in the colony called Ecole St. Sinion, which included Millet, Courbet, Diaz, Harpignies, Jongkind, Monet and others. He moved to Trouville, then married and settled in Havre. From 1875 on he exhibited at the Salon. In 1896, then over seventy, he received the Legion of Honour, He died at Deauville on August 8, 1898.
His best work was on his small canvases. He was pre-eminent as a painter of tidal rivers, and Corot called him "Master of the sea." A large number of his sketches are at Havre. Boudin has not often received the full credit he deserves as an important contributor to the impresionist movement. His modesty and timidity and the constant dissatisfaction he felt in his own acheivement may have been partly responsible for this. But it was he who convinced Monet of the value of working in the open air and indeed, did much to deflect Monet from his early comparatively high style toward the lighter, airier and more brilliantly colored pictures for which he became famous.
Metropolitan Miniatures: French Impressionists
From the internet, Artchive.com
In April of 1874 a group of artists organized an exhibition in Paris
that would revolutionize the future of fine art painting
worldwide. Among the exhibitors appeared previously little known
names such as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Sisley, Pissarro and
Morisot, all of whom were destined for prominence as the leaders of the
new school that would become known as Impressionism. Also
exhibiting at this first showing of impressionist paintings was Claude
Monet's revered mentor and teacher, Eugene Boudin.
Biography from Odon Wagner Gallery
Boudin was an
impressionist painter long before there was such a school or
classification. Boudin's influence on his fellow artists was
profound, as expressed by his student Monet, who when asked about his
time studying with Boudin, stated simply: "It was as if at last my eyes
were opened. If I have become a painter it is entirely due to
The life and works of this artist are
inseparably linked with the sea. Born in Honfleur on the coast of
Maritime Normandy in 1824, Boudin sprang from a long line of sailors
and fishermen who made their living along this channel coast of
Northwestern France. The pristine beaches, perpetually crowded
harbor basins and bustling ports would provide Boudin with a lifetime's
worth of subjects for his work.
Boudin began to paint as a major
change was taking place in France that was to be the beginnings of
modern art. In the 1840s a school of realism was emerging led by
master Gustave Courbet. For the first time ordinary people and
everyday scenes became subjects for art along with a fascination for
capturing the fleeting effects of light, color, and atmosphere.
devotion and need to be surrounded by nature led him to become one of
the first French painters to work out-of-doors, directly from
nature. Boudin was to say: "Everything that is painted directly
on the spot has always a strength, a power, a vividness of touch that
one does not find again in the studio." It was from him that
generations of future painters would learn the importance of
maintaining the "first impression, which is the good one."
was entirely self-taught. Nothing in his environment favored his
artistic instinct, and no one encouraged him. Because there was
no one else to learn from, he developed his own technique of directness
and immediacy with a total absence of any academic flourish or
After a failed business attempt in the 1840s,
Boudin turned to painting full time. His early years were
extremely difficult. Despite his struggles and ill fortune, he
was determined to follow his vocation, steadily pursuing the personal
vision that would lead him to the verge of impressionism. Work
became his consolation from a torment of uncertainty and
self-doubt. It was only his passion for painting that could
comfort him in the gloominess of his everyday life.
days at the harbor or on the neighboring coast where he fell under the
spell of the shore and the sea and the cloud-filled skies. It was
here, painting his love for nature, that he began to develop the
studies of sea and sky that were soon to become his great
passion. His dominant idea was that: "Nature should appear more
abundant, more luxuriant, I must find the means of preserving the
luminous power which is the essence of her charm, so that it will do
one good to see nature in my paintings, just as it does in reality."
wrote in his notebooks at this time of his feelings of
inadequacy: "Nature is far richer than I can ever represent
her. My pictures are flawed, perhaps my dreams are better.
Perfection! Elusive perfection. Sometimes I look at the
light which bathes the earth, shimmers on water, and plays on people's
clothing and I feel positively faint at the idea of how much genius is
necessary to overcome so many difficulties."
But he was
beginning to fashion the style and settle upon the subjects that would
finally bring him critical recognition and secure his reputation.
His paintings began to show an atmospheric style specializing in the
play of light on beaches and wet rocks, shifting mists, stormy skies
and the uncertainty of the marine horizon. He became obsessed with
skies. His journals describe his wish: "...to steep oneself in
the sky. To capture the tenderness of the clouds. To let
the cloud masses float in the background, far off in the gray mist, and
then make the blue blaze forth."
In the late 1850s, although
still years away from any significant public recognition, he began to
be noticed by his peers in the art community. He was sought out
by artists such as Courbet and Edouard Manet. It was Courbet who
introduced Boudin to French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire who
marveled at how Boudin's paintings "..understand what would seem beyond
comprehension". It was the great and controversial Camille Corot
who would be the first to dub Boudin "The King of Skies".
also during this time that Boudin met the teen-aged Claude Monet who
was making his living drawing cartoon portraits and caricatures around
Le Havre. It was Boudin who first recognized and nurtured Monet's
remarkable talent. For the remainder of his life Monet praised
his mentor as the turning point in his professional life. It is a
tribute to Boudin's greatness that, apart from his own work, he was
able to awaken the genius of one of the greatest and most original of
As Boudin's talent began to become recognized,
he began a way of life that was to continue until his death. He
opened a studio in Montmartre where he spent the winters tolerating the
Paris art scene. When the warmer months came, his need and
passion to be out in nature brought him back to the Normandy beaches
and waterfronts he loved so well. The familiar sunlight and sky
revitalized and inspired him. "Nature is so beautiful that when I am
not tortured by poverty I'm tortured by her splendor. How fortunate to
see and admire the glories of sky and earth; if only I could be content
just to admire them instead of the torment of struggling to reproduce
them within the narrow limits of painting!"
Boudin was now
coming into his own. He developed a technique with a more
spontaneous application of paint to achieve a more rapid translation of
sensations. His touch became fluid, but also delicate, never
broken or detached as in later impressionist paintings. He
favored small paintings as a format, mainly because of the expense
involved compared to large canvases. His painting style became
gently feathered, blended and succinctly articulated. It was the
style for which he became known.
In 1861, Boudin spent the
summer in Trouville, a fashionable resort with friends Gustave Courbet
and the American artist James McNeill Whistler. It was here,
almost by coincidence, that he began painting the elegant summer
visitors in fashionable dress strolling along the beaches, watching
regattas and horse races. Initially, these "Beach Scenes" were rejected
by dealers, but proved to be very popular with the public and
contributed to their creator's first financial and critical success.
the popularity of his beach scenes Boudin finally felt within himself
that he had arrived as an accomplished artist. His works began
selling well and were in high demand. His fellow artists such as
Daubigny and Rouseau were buying his paintings. It was a time of growth
and freedom for Boudin after years of poverty and struggle.
marked the beginning of official interest in Boudin. The widely
acclaimed Paris dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel took an active interest in the
56 year old Boudin. The name of Durand-Ruel is inseparable from
the history of French painting. It was his obstinacy and belief in
their talent and genius that ensured the destiny of the impressionist
school. Upon his first visit to Boudin's studio he was so
impressed he purchased every canvas the artist had. Durand-Ruel
would promote Boudin and serve as his principal agent for the remainder
of his life.
It was Durand-Ruel who organized the second ever
impressionist exhibition at his Paris gallery in 1882. Boudin
emerged as one of the strongest of the impressionist school. It
was said that Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and Renoir were "the crowd of
young rascals who pursued him".
Boudin was to enjoy his
success until the end of his life. Based on his popularity, it
would have been simple to do no more than recopy his own work.
But at the age of 60, Boudin realized that "one can grow old in this
profession, but to grow slack is forbidden. One must finish one's
career valiantly, and show one has not grown soft with age." He
refused to let himself go into decline and set out to renew himself and
increase his vision even further.
It is not surprising that some
of Boudin's most recognized work came from the last years of his
life. After visiting the Mediterranean for the first time in
1888, he discovered strong new light sources and brought new dimensions
and depth of color into his art. He developed a second style
which became known as his luminous and sunlit style. His palette
was enriched with new tones, a greater intensity of light and a more
powerful execution of fresh and lively colors.
After the death
of his wife in 1889, Boudin returned once again to the familiar places
between Deauville and Dunkirk where his favorite shores were to be
found. He derived solace again in painting the sea and sky of his
youth. The human presence was often reduced in these later works
as he concentrated increasingly on the grandeur of nature, an enchanted
vision of the sea, sky and weather. At the small beach at Etretat
he painted a series of 20 pictures including, La falaise d'amont, The Upstream Cliff.
died in Deauville in 1898, ten miles from Honfleur where he was
born. It can be said that between these two towns stretched
Boudin's entire life, captured in the oils and canvases of one of
history's most remarkable painters. The Normandy coast will
forever echo with the name and talent of Eugene Boudin.
Eugene Boudin, the son of a ship's captain, was born on the coast at
Honfleur in Normandy in 1824. He thus became familiar with the
moods and atmosphere of the sea, which, along with the Normandy
countryside, was the artist's main subject matter. As a young man
in Le Havre, Boudin worked with a stationer and framer who displayed
paintings by visiting artists, circumstances that allowed the young man
to meet established painters such as Theodule Ribot, Eugene Isabey and
Constant Troyon, among others.
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With advice and encouragement from these important painters, Boudin
embarked on his own artistic career, eventually winning a grant in 1851
from the city of Le Havre to study painting in Paris for three
years. During this time, he did a great deal of work outdoors.
When Boudin returned to Le Havre, he embarked seriously on a career of
Marine painting. He traveled extensively in the area, painting
scenes along the entire Atlantic coast, from Holland to Bordeaux.
an exhibition of the Societe des Amis des Arts du Havre in 1958, Boudin
met Claude Monet to whom he stressed the importance of working directly
from nature. At the end of his life he also worked on the French
Riviera. By 1859 he had achieved a style in the rendering of
skies that henceforth excited the admiration of artists and critics,
leading to Courbet to call him a "seraph", and to Corot to coin the
epithet "king of the skies".
Boudin was an artist of great independence who made discoveries that
foretold those of the Impressionists. He shared with them a love
of movement and the contemporary scene and a pioneering pleasure in
working out of doors, though his palette is unusual in the predominance
of subtle gray tones. Eugene Boudin was the first Frenchman in
modern times to carry the art of marine painting to the level achieved
by the English painters Turner, Bonington, and Constable. Indeed,
he is considered by many to be one of the greatest painters of the sea.
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