Eugène Boudin
(Honfleur, 1824-1898, Paris)
Trouville, At Low Tide, 1883/87
Oil on wood, 23.5 x 32.5 cm
Signed & dated lower right: E. Boudin
Schmit 1761
Eugène Boudin is a little Master of Impressionism; the fact that he wants to be nothing else constitutes his greatness. He is also aware that he is only a link in a chain, a minor link between greater figures, between Corot and Jongkind, on the one hand, and Claude Monet, whom he inspired to paint, on the other. He belongs here too as a descendant of seamen in Honfleur, whose life and milieu he paints with an authenticity of feeling that is innate. And as a painter he remains true to the coasts of France, especially of Normandy and Brittany, to the harbours and estuaries with their ships and the tawny beaches animated by fishermen or the fashionable summer visitors of the Second Empire. His themes are restricted in range, and the dimensions of his pictures are small, but his work is rich in nuances which never betray any sense of set scheme or repetition; it is always refreshed by direct observation of the object. This also applies to "Sailboats", the spontaneous record of a fresh impression. The undated painting was probably done around 1890.