Musée d'Orsay: Eugène Boudin The Beach at Trouville

Eugène Boudin
The Beach at Trouville

The Beach at Trouville
Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)
The Beach at Trouville
Oil on cardboard
H. 26.5; W. 40.5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

La plage de Trouville [The Beach at Trouville]

Born in Honfleur and the son of a sailor, Boudin tried to paint the world he knew so well: the beaches, ships and changeable skies of the Normandy coast. He also took as his subjects the elegant society crowd which flocked to fashionable beach resorts such as Trouville during the Second Empire. The women's clothing in particular provided brightly coloured motifs which contrasted with the range of blues, greys and beiges that changed with the weather conditions in the hundreds of canvases he painted.

Here he has chosen a relatively low angle leaving the sea barely visible but accentuating the feeling of the wind, into which the figures and the little black dog in the foreground are leaning. The sense of a scene snatched from life, reinforced by vibrant light effects, makes Eugène Boudin a forerunner of Impressionism, and indeed, it was he who introduced Monet to open air painting when the latter was only seventeen.

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