Coucher de Soleil, Fécamp, 1892-1893

by Eugène Boudin

Depicting the port of Fécamp, in Seine-Maritime in Upper Normandy, the present work is a stunning and graceful testament to Boudin’s favourite subject and to his mature style. Following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, there was a struggle to understand and define the new national identity within France, and this struggle very much informed Boudin’s artistic pursuits.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 44.5 x 63.5 cm/ 17.5 x 25.0 ins
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘E. Boudin’ (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 6096 Categories: , Tags: , , , ,

Boudin’s sun-drenched brushwork was praised by his peers for its ability to capture the ever-changing skies of northern maritime France. He received effusive accolades from his peers, most notably Corot who famously hailed him the “King of the Sky” and Courbet who was moved to declare: “My God, you are a seraph, Boudin! You are the only one of us who really knows the sky” (quoted in Ruth J. Benjamin, Eugène Boudin, New York, 1937, p. 46). These skies inspired a new generation of painters, chief amongst them Claude Monet, to whom Boudin became a close friend and mentor. After observing Boudin paint for the first time, Monet declared: “Suddenly it was as if a veil had been torn from my eyes. I understood what painting could be. Boudin’s absorption in his work, and his independence, were enough to decide the entire future and development of my painting” (quoted in Peter C. Sutton, Boudin: Impressionist Marine Paintings (exhibition catalogue), Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, 1991, p. 54).

(with) Arthur Tooth & Sons;

Private collection, United Kingdom

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Eugène Boudin was a French painter best known for his sensitive and lively depictions of beach scenes and windswept harbours. He is considered one of the earliest plein-air painters, as he completed his canvases entirely in situ rather than from studies back in the studio.

 

Born at Honfleur, on the French coast, and son of a ship’s captain, Boudin never knew a life without the sea. The centre of his earl life was Le Havre, where he opened a framing shop. The shop was visited by local painters including Jean-Francois Millet, who encouraged Boudin to learn to paint himself. Boudin visited Paris and studied at the Louvre. In this way he established contact with painters of the Barbizon school – primarily Jean-Baptists Camille Corot. In about 1856, Boudin met Claude Monet and introduced him to outdoor painting, which was hugely influential to Monet. The two continued to work together into the late 1860s.

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Robert Schmit, Eugène Boudin 1824-1898, vol. III, Paris, 1973, no 2999.

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