Eugène Boudin
(Honfleur, 1824-1898, Paris)
Berck, Fisherwomen, 1894
Oil on panel, 22.5 x 33 cm
Inscribed, signed & dated lower left: Berck, E. Boudin 94
Schmit 3231
Boudin’s life, which he devotes exclusively to his painting, is devoid of dramatic incident. During the winter, he lives mostly in Paris, without really becoming intimate with the city, and he always spends the summer months on the coasts of France, and from 1885 on the Mediterranean; between 1892 and 1895 he is on three occasions in Venice. Boudin's work receives recognition in later years, and Durand-Ruel champions him, even in the United States. In the summer of 1894, after a Venetian sojourn, as often in previous years Boudin is at Berck-sur-Mer on the Channel, where Manet also painted. He was now seventy years old, and after the death of his wife in 1889, loneliness and a certain resignation settled over his life, but there is no trace of fatigue in his painting. This is evidenced also by the "Shore at Berck". On the cool greyish-pink of the beach there is scattered, in deep blues and reds, enlivened by white kerchiefs, the merry group of Norman fisher-girls, against a background of the distant bluish sea at ebb tide, with the softly clouded sky above, its remoteness being heightened by the blackfishing boat in the left foreground. This is a picture replete with tenderness and power that, notwithstanding its basically conservative outlook, has lost nothing of its freshness.