Honfleur 1824 – Deauville 1898
Eugène Boudin was born in Honfleur on July 12th 1824. In 1835 his family moved to Le Havre. Boudin worked at a printer's, then at a stationer where he got the opportunity to come into contact with painters associated with the School of Babizon such as Constant Troyon, Eugène Isabey or the poet Charles Baudelaire. At 22, encouraged by Jean-François Millet and Thomas Couture, he abandoned trade for painting.
While Classicism and Romanticism were facing, Eugène Boudin chose a new path, inspired by the painters of the 1830 school, but outdoor-oriented, especially towards the search of the fugitive.
Concerned about the representation of figures in natural light, Eugène Boudin invented the beach scene in 1862. The influence of this new pictorial genre on future Impressionist painters is undeniable.
From 1870 merchants’ demands pushed him to turn to marine paint and forced him to travel. In the Netherlands or in Bordeaux, Berck or Venice, sky and light were his real subjects.
During the 1870’s, the careful study of light led him to the principle of the series and then, during the next decade, he reached the threshold of pure painting.
Eugène Boudin struggled with this art of freedom, based on the evanescence, against lovers of descriptive painting. In the 1890’s, after years of struggle, obstinacy and poverty, he finally got a relative recognition.
In 1898, Eugène Boudin, still unsatisfied and eager to raise his painting to new levels of requirement, died in Deauville, in his modest cottage turned to the search for his whole life : sea, sky and light.