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    Attributed to EUGÈNE-LOUIS BOUDIN (French 1824 - 1898)
    The Beach at Trouville
    Oil on canvas
    9-1/2 x 15-1/2 inches
    Signed on left, E. Boudin
    Inscribed lower right, Trouville

    Property of a Gentleman

    The beaches of Trouville and Deauville on the Normandy coast were the favorite subject of Eugène Boudin, a popular and influential landscapist from nearby Honfleur. This sunlit view of the strand on a windy day, with great puffy clouds collecting overhead, illustrates Boudin's attraction to Trouville, a popular seaside resort that was frequented by Parisians longing for time away from the city. There, the middle class bathed in the ocean (the women used the white "bathing machines" to get discreetly in and out of the water), picnicked outdoors, and watched the regattas sail by. And Boudin, in turn, watched them. There was a great deal of people-watching that transpired at Trouville and its neighboring beaches, and it was not surprising that other painters who practiced both figure and landscape painting gravitated there as well.

    Boudin was an enormously prolific painter who sought, above all, to capture the effects of light and the feeling of wind, rain and other weather conditions on landscape. The only way he was able to achieve this was to paint outside, a practice he not only followed himself, but also advocated. Like the present canvas, Boudin's paintings reflect his awareness of the Barbizon School painters in their brisk brushwork, as well as the older Dutch seventeenth-century masters who created drama with the simplest elements of flat land, a sliver of water, a big sky, and the proper proportion of each zone upon the pictorial surface. Much has been made not only of Boudin's enormous effect on the next generation of painters, the Impressionists, not simply in terms of his silvery light and windswept brushwork, and his insistence upon plein air painting, but in terms of the subject of middle class leisure. His preference for showing figures enjoying themselves rather than laboring, was an iconographic shift that Boudin pioneered and one the Impressionists explored even more extensively. Claude Monet, who led this later group, specifically credited Boudin as a major influence in his art. When the two men met in 1859, Boudin encouraged Monet in the direction he was heading, and stressed the importance of working in the open air. In 1874, Boudin showed his work alongside Monet's in the first Impressionist exhibition.

    British painter Walter Richard Sickert wrote a marvelous assessment of Boudin, which was reprinted in shortened form as the foreword to a 1958 exhibition catalogue of the Frenchman's work at Marlborough Fine Art Limited, London. It beautifully captures the qualities inherent in the present example of his work: "A great French painter was Boudin, never showing his greatness more than in the life and charm of the Second Empire figures with which he peoples his exquisite seaside scenes. When some of his successors in that point of time tended to use their figures rather as spots to accentuate their landscapes, Boudin appears, like Jack Yeats, to proceed in the reverse order, from the actors to the scenery. He does not subject himself with any doctrinaire pedantry to painting only as much of the human being as can be 'touched in' while it moves across the field of vision. Significantly and exquisitely organized groups play their part in carrying out the logical structure of a landscape setting. The crinolines in the Second Empire figures on the pier at Trouville are not chastised with such a hurricane as are Turner's Georgian ladies in muslin and his admirals in uniform at Calais. Boudin's wind is a Second Empire wind, enough for refreshment and not too much for the amenities of conversation and curiosity."

    The present work records the beach at Trouville from a vantage point similar to that in Boudin's The Beach at Trouville, circa 1870-4, in the National Gallery, London. A large collection of the artist's works in oil and pastel are preserved in the Musée Eugène Boudin, Honfleur.

    In a career that lasted just over half a century, Boudin produced over 4,000 paintings and more than 7,000 drawings, watercolors and pastels. On one occasion, accused of being over productive, the artist replied, "I could work less but then what would I do in between? I would get bored. My only pleasure is in painting."

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2006
    9th-10th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,456

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