Eugène Boudin 1824–1898 was a French landscape painter and one of the earliest practitioners of plein air open-air painting. He was born in Honfleur, a coastal town in Normandy, France. Boudin is often referred to as a precursor to the Impressionist movement, as he influenced and mentored many of the leading Impressionist painters.
During his early years, Boudin began to display an interest in art. He worked in his father’s shop, but his passion for painting led him to spend much of his free time sketching the scenes around him, particularly the coastal landscapes. Recognizing his talent, some local art collectors and patrons provided support for Boudin to receive formal artistic training.
Despite the financial challenges of his upbringing, Boudin’s artistic abilities flourished, and he eventually became a key figure in the development of the Impressionist movement. His childhood experiences near the sea influenced many of his later works, which often featured coastal scenes and the effects of light and atmosphere on the water.
Boudin parents were Léonard-Sébastien Boudin and Marie-Félicité Buffet. Boudin came from a humble background, and his family ran a marine supplies shop in Honfleur. Boudin had several siblings. He had three brothers: Charles, Alphonse, and Louis, and two sisters. Marie-Anne and Zoé. Boudin’s upbringing in a large family with a modest background influenced his early life, and his interest in art began to develop during his youth. Despite the financial challenges his family faced, Boudin’s talent and passion for painting eventually led him to pursue a career as an artist.
Boudin’s paintings primarily focused on seascapes, beaches, and the effects of light and atmosphere on the water. He had a keen interest in capturing the changing weather and the play of light on the sea and sky. Boudin often painted directly outdoors, creating a more immediate and spontaneous connection with nature.
One of his significant contributions to the art world was his influence on young artists, including Claude Monet. Boudin encouraged Monet to paint outdoors and to explore the transient effects of light and color. Monet and other Impressionists later adopted and developed these ideas, leading to the establishment of the Impressionist movement.
La Plage De Trouville, which went for GBP 2,262,000 at auction in London in March 2021, is now the most expensive piece of art by Boudin to be found at an auction to date. During his lifetime Boudin painted about 560 paintings.
Despite being overshadowed by the later success of the Impressionists, Boudin’s work remains highly regarded, and his impact on the art world is acknowledged. Today, his paintings can be found in major art museums and collections around the world.