EUGÈNE BOUDIN PAINTINGS FOR SALE & BIOGRAPHY
The son of a mariner, Eugène Boudin initially considered becoming a marine pilot. However, a year after his family settled in Le Havre, in 1835, he began work as an apprentice at a printing/publishing house, then in a stationery firm, where he stayed until he was 18 before setting himself up in the same business. Passionate about drawing and painting, he was given encouragement and advice by the painters Millet, Isabey, Couture, Troyon and Masurier, whose pictures he exhibited in his shop windows. In 1846 he left his shop, devoting himself fully to art. Several changes of fortune then followed. First, in 1847, he moved to Paris, where he spent many hours in the Louvre. Secondly, the desire to escape the upheavals of the 1848 Revolution forced him to travel throughout northern France and Belgium, giving him the opportunity to study the Old Flemish masters. In 1851, Le Havre Municipal Council awarded him a three-year scholarship, which he spent in Paris and, primarily, in Honfleur. Many years of patient effort, application and hard work ensued, documented in numerous sketches and drawings conscientiously depicting his travels and his thoughts. From the outset, Boudin's work is marked by his desire to paint the actual scene before his eyes, and not to impose imaginative elements; thus, he attempts to translate the ever-changing spectacle of the skies and clouds racing over the sea directly into pastel, watercolour or oil. In 1855, he made his first trip to Brittany, to the Finistère area, where he was often to return during his lifetime. His subjects there included the indoor and outdoor markets, festivals, people leaving mass and the Breton pardons or religious festivals, as well as the wild, rocky coasts, characterized by far darker hues and more threatening skies than the coastline of his native Normandy. In 1858, he made the acquaintance of Claude Monet, who was staying at Le Havre. Boudin gave Monet a taste for painting en plein air, and continued to be associated with him for the rest of his life. In 1859, he met Courbet and Baudelaire, the latter of whom was the first to acknowledge his talent, in Salon of 1859. Around 1860, Boudin decided to settle permanently in Paris. He worked for Troyon, preparing the skies in his compositions, and was acquainted with Corot, Daubigny and later Jongkind, whom he particularly admired. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 he fled to Belgium, where he produced many fine paintings, notably in Antwerp in 1871 and 1872. On his return to Trouville in September 1871, his works sold readily. He worked until his strength was exhausted, painting his last picture in Beaulieu in 1898. In May, he was taken back to Paris, then to Deauville, where he died by the sea on 8 August 1898.
(Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006)