Eugène Boudin

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Eugène Boudin, painting at Deauville-Trouville, close to Le Havre, France (photo in 1896)

Eugène Louis Boudin, (12 July 1824 - 8 August 1898) was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors. Boudin was a Marine art painter, and expert in the rendering of all that goes upon the sea and along its shores. His pastels, summary and economic, garnered the splendid eulogy of w:Baudelaire; Corot called him the 'king of the skies'.

Quotes of Eugène Boudin[edit]

Boudin, 1857: 'Wedding at Quimper / Noce à Quimper', oil-painting on wood; current location: Musée des beaux-arts de Quimper
Boudin, 1865: 'Crinolines and Cabins', black pencil, graphite and watercolor on paper; current location: Museum of modern art André Malraux, le Havre
Boudin, 1874: 'The Coast of Portrieux, Cotes-du-Nord', oil-painting on canvas
sorted chronologically, by date of the quote
  • Nature is richer than I represent it.. .Nature is so beautiful that when I am not tortured by poverty I am tortured by her splendor. How fortunate we are to be able to see and admire the glories of the sky and earth; if only I could be content just to admire them. But there is always the torment of struggling to reproduce them, the impossibility of creating anything within the narrow limits of painting.
    • quote in his Journal, March 1854; as quoted in Eugène Boudin, G. Jean-Aubrey & Robert Schmit, Greenwich, New York graphic society, 1968, p. 24
  • They [the holiday-visitors near Le Havre] love my little ladies [paintings] on the beach, and some people say that there's a thread of gold to exploit there.
    • in a letter to family-friend Ferdinand Martin, from Paris, 12 February 1863; as quoted by Colin B. Bailey in The Annenberg Collection: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, publisher, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 11
  • I have a confession to make. When I came back to.. ..the beach at Trouville.. ..it seeemed nothing more than than a frightful masquerade.. ..If you have passed one month among the people condemned to hard work in the fields, with black bread and water, and you then find that gang of golden parasites with such a triumphant air, you can't help feeling a bit of pity.. ..Fortunately, dear friend, the Creator has spread a little of his splendid and warming light everywhere, and what I reproduce is not so much this world as the element that envelops it.
    • in a letter to Ferdinand Martin, 28 August 1867; as quoted in exh. text; 'Eugène Boudin', ed. Christoph Bode, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, July 2013
    • 'Nos petites poupées', Boudin called the rich and super-rich women from Paris who spent their summers in Deauville and Trouville at the beach
  • The peasants have their painters, Millet, Jaque, Breton; and that is a good thing.. ..Well and good: but between you and me, the bourgeois walking along the jetty towards the sunset, has just as much right to be caught on canvas, 'to be brought tot he light'.. .They too are often resting after a day's hard work, these people who come from their offices and from behind their desks.. .There's a serious and irrefutable argument.
    • in a letter to Ferdinand Martin, 3 September 1868; as quoted in Eugène Boudin, G. Jean-Aubry with Robert Schmit - trans. Caroline Tisdall. Greenwich, Conn., New York Graphic Society, 1968, p. 72
  • I dare not think of the sun-drenched beaches and the stormy skies, and of the joy of painting them in the sea breezes.
    • quote in a letter, Paris 14 June 1869, to family-friend Ferdinand Martin; as quoted by Colin B. Bailey in The Annenberg Collection: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, publisher, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 7
    • Boudin felt himself detained in the big city Paris and longed fort the beach
  • Everything that is painted directly and on the spot always has strength, a power, and a vivacity of touch one cannot recover in the studio.. .Three strokes of the brush in front of nature are worth more than two days of work at the easel [in the studio].
    • quote from Boudin's sketchbook; as quoted in Boudin at Trouville, by Vivien Hamilton, exh. Catalogue, London John Murray Ltd., 1992, p. 16

Quotes about Eugène Boudin[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quote
Boudin, 1880: 'Normandy landscape (with a high sky)', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Nordsee-Museum, Husum, Northern Germany
Boudin, 1882-83: 'Beach Scene', pastel on gray wove paper mounted on card; current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Boudin, 1895: 'Venice, The Grand Canal', oil-painting on wooden panel; current location: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
  • If you have had the leisure to acquaint yourself with these meteorological beauties, you will be able to verify, by memory, the exactness of Monsieur Boudin's observations. Hide the legend with your hand, and you will still be able to guess correctly at the season, the hour and the wind. I don’t exaggerate one bit. I've seen it. Ultimately all these fantastically shaped, luminous clouds, this chaotic darkness, these immense expanses of green and pink, each hung and added on to the next, these gaping furnaces, these purple and black satin firmaments, crumpled, rolled or torn, these horizons in mourning or running with molten metal, all these depths, all these splendours, go to my head like an intoxicating liquor or like the eloquence of opium.. ..It's a curious thing, but it never occurred to me once, in front of these liquid or aerial wonders, to complain about the absence of man.
  • There at the moment in Honfleur.. ..Boudin and Jongkind are here; we get on marvelously.. ..There's lots to be learned and nature begins to grow beautiful..
    • Claude Monet, in a letter to his friend w:Frédéric Bazille, 1864; quoted in Creativity in art and science, 1860-1960., Edward B. Henning, Cleveland Museum of Art. (1987), p. 95
  • [if other artists would visit Boudin] they would then understand what they [the starting Impressionists in Paris] do not seem to understand, namely the difference between a sketch and a picture.. ..He well knows that all this must be made into a picture by applying poetic impression recalled at will; he is not pretentious enough to claim that his sketches are finished pictures.
  • I could not appreciate his [Boudin's] paintings and when he offered to take me with him to paint outdoors in the open countryside, I always found a pretext and refused politely. But when Summer came, I was more or less free to dispose of my time as I wished and I had no feasible excuse left to give him and gave in. Thus it was, that Boudin - with his inexhaustible kindness - took it upon himself to educate me. With time, my eyes began to open and I really started to understand nature. I also learned to love it. I would analyze its forms with my pencil. I would study its colorations.
    • quote of Claude Monet from 1900, in Claude Monet par lui-meme – interview by Thiébault-Sisson / translated by Louise McGlone Jacot-Descombes; published in 'Le Temps newspaper', 26 November 1900
    • On Eugène Boudin, then landscape-painting in and around Le Havre circa 1856; Monet was 16 years old then.
  • You know the affection I have always had for you and also the gratitude. I have never forgotten that you were the first who taught me to see and to comprehend.
    • w:Claude Monet, in a letter to Boudin, 1892; as quoted in Monet and His Muse: Camille Monet in the Artist's Life, Mary Mathews Gedo; University of Chicago Press, Sept. 2010, p. 10 (note 30)

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