Eugène Boudin / The Coast at Trouville / c. 1865-1900Eugène Boudin
The Coast at Trouville
c. 1865-1900

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Creator Name: Boudin, Eugène Louis
Creator Qualifier: Imitator of
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1824 - 1898

Eugýne Boudin is traditionally presented in literature as a self-taught artist, inde-pendent of the Parisian art world whose works, painted out of doors in a sketchy, light-hued style, foreshadowed impres-sionism.1 Recent scholarship has tempered this interpretation of the artist, but it conserves his importance to contempor-aneous artistic concerns of modernity, the notion of 'finish,' the relationship between the French city and countryside, and the marketing of art works.2

Raised by parents who worked on steamers, Boudin grew up in Le Havre on the Normandy coast. At the age of twenty, he and an associate established their own framing and stationery shop where they regularly served artists. In 1847 Boudin went to Paris to study art and made contacts with artists such as Couture (q.v.), who helped him win a three-year study grant in 1850 from the municipal council of Le Havre, and Constant Troyon (1810-1865). But it was along the Normandy coast, not in Paris, where Boudin first met painters Ribot (q.v.) in 1851, Monet (q.v.) in 1858, and Courbet (q.v.) in 1859 and art critic Charles Baudelaire in 18593 and painted in a coarse realist style. Boudin spent each winter, roughly November to May, in Paris, working in his studio. He spent the summer season, lasting from two to five months, making pictures on the Normandy coast or in the Breton landscape. In 1860 he began to paint scenes of fashionable society at the beach resorts of Trouville (The Beach at Trouville, Minneapolis Institute of Arts) and Deauville. At first his work attracted little critical notice, but Baudelaire praised his pastels in a review of the 1859 Salon where Boudin made his debut.4 By 1869 Boudin and his art came to be identified with the Normandy coast.5 After 1870 Boudin increasingly turned away from beach resort subjects to focus on port and harbor views and fisherfolk scenes. In 1881 Boudin entered into a business relationship with the important Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel, who provided him with a regular income for the rights to his entire production. When Durand-Ruel mounted a one-person exhibition of Boudin's works in 1883, the artist enjoyed financial and critical triumph. Boudin sold his first picture to the French state in 1886 (A Squall, Musýe de Morlaix) and his second two years later (The Russian Corvette in the Eure Reservoir, Musýe d'Agen). In 1892 he was decorated with the Legion of Honor. Extremely productive until the end of his life, Boudin left more than four thousand paintings and seven thousand works on paper, some of which he or his family bequeathed to the French nation and art museums of Le Havre and Honfleur. The reputation that Boudin quietly established is nowhere better evidenced than in the fact that the retro-spective exhibition of his work (January 1898) was held at the ýcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where Boudin never set foot and which had fought, and failed, to privilege history painting over landscape and genre.

1. By 1883 art critic Gustave Geffroy had already pronounced that Boudin 'is, together with Corot and Jongkind, one of the immediate precursors of Impressionism. He shows us that impenetrable black does not exist and that air is transparent.' Cited in trans. in Hamilton 1992, 42.

2. See John House, 'Boudin's Modernity,' in Hamilton 1992, 15-23.

3. Courbet first visited Le Havre in 1841, the year he moved to Paris from Ornans. He returned at the time of the 1858 Salon du Havre, to which he contributed, and again in 1859. He is reported to have bought some of Boudin's paintings. In 1865 the two painters socialized together and painted side by side at Trouville.

4. The artist exhibited no pastels in the Salon, but Baudelaire might have seen them in the artist's studio or elsewhere.

5. Jules Castagnary, Salon de 1869, cited in trans. in Hamilton 1992, 59.

Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Honfleur, 12 July 1824
Creator Death Place: Deauville, 8 August 1898
Creator Name-CRT: Eugène Boudin
Title: The Coast at Trouville
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1865
Creation End Date: 1900
Creation Date: c. 1865-1900
Object Type: Paintings
Classification Term: Painting
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Unframed: 46.2cm x 61.1cm

Signed lower left: E. Boudin / Trouville

AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1966.208
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Abraham Strauss and S. Portland Halle II in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Salmon P. Halle
Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Salmon P. Halle, Cleveland. Given by family members to the CMA in 1966.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1966.208
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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