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Le Rivage de Villerville, Maree Basse, by Eugene Boudin

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Le Rivage de Villerville, Maree Basse, by Eugene Boudin

- Item No.

Low tide at Villerville provides the perfect setting in this oil by Eugene Boudin

Key Features

  • Eugene Boudin captures a timeless moment on the Normandy coast in this exceptional masterpiece
  • This stunning Impressionist seascape balances the expanse of the sky with the busy shore
  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed, dated 1894 and inscribed lower right
  • Canvas: 21 1/2" high x 31 1/2" wide; Frame: 31 1/8" high x 40 7/8" wide

Item Details

  • Width:
    C: 31 1/2; F: 40 7/8 Inches
  • Height:
    C: 21 1/2; F: 31 1/8 Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
    France
  • Subject:
    Seascape
  • Artist:
    Boudin, Eugene
Eugène Louis Boudin
  1824-1898 · French

Le Rivage de Villerville, maree basse (The shoreline of Villerville, Low Tide)

Oil on canvas

Signed, dated 1894 and inscribed lower right

"To swim in the open sky. To achieve a cloud's tenderness. To suspend those background masses, far off in the grey mist, and break up the azure." - from the diaries of Eugène Boudin. 

Villagers take advantage of the low tide to comb the shoreline in this evocative seascape by Eugène Louis Boudin. Entitled Le Rivage de Villerville, maree basse (The shoreline of Villerville, Low Tide), this magnificent seascape is one of Boudin's best, capturing the details of life along the northern coast of France with reverence and affection. In it, the busy beach is balanced by the tranquil, cloudy sky, one of Boudin's trademarks. One of the first French landscape artists to paint mostly outdoors, Boudin achieved a mastery of his specialty equal to that of his English predecessors Constable, Bonington, and Turner, and the accomplishments of France's own Barbizon landscapists. His seascapes were the best known of his kuvre, and this oil on canvas is one of the finest representations of his genius. 

A mentor to acclaimed French Impressionists, Boudin profoundly affected and influenced the works of celebrated artists such as Renoir and Monet. His passion for movement and the natural world further inspired artists of all mediums, including Baudelaire. In 1857, Boudin met Claude Monet, who spent several months working with him in and out of his studio. Responsible for introducing Monet to this method of painting en plein air, Monet returned the compliment by painting the beach at Trouville, one of Boudin's iconic scenes, several years later. Indicative of the esteem in which he was held by the Impressionists, Boudin joined Monet and his young friends in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, but never considered himself a radical or innovator.  

Born into a seafaring family near the town of Honfleur, Normandy, Boudin worked as cabin boy onboard the steamer that sailed between Havre and Honfleur across the estuary of the Seine. In 1835, his family moved to Le Havre, where his father established himself as a stationer and frame-maker. Boudin began work the next year as an assistant to his father shortly before opening his own small shop. There he came into contact with artists working in the area and exhibited in his shop the paintings of Constant Troyon and Jean-François Millet, who, along with Jean-Baptiste Isabey and Thomas Couture, encouraged young Boudin to follow an artistic career. At the age of 22, he abandoned the world of commerce and journeyed to Paris to begin painting exclusively. In 1850, he earned a scholarship that enabled him to take permanent residence in Paris, although he often traveled to paint in Normandy and, from 1855, made regular trips to Brittany. 

Seventeenth-century Dutch masters profoundly influenced Boudin. In fact, it was Dutch painter Johan Jongkind (who already made his mark in French artistic circles), who first advised Boudin to paint outdoors. Although Boudin is often described as "the painter of beaches," the beach itself, in many of his paintings, only occupies a portion of the canvas. It is the large, luminous sky that dominates his work. Boudin studied nature directly on the Normandy coast at the fashionable resorts of Deauville and Trouville. His seascapes and beach scenes were painted at many different times of the year and in a variety of changing weather conditions. Boudin's overriding concern was light, and in his dabs of pure color and loose and delicate brushwork, he prefigured Impressionism, marking the link between Corot and the Impressionists.   

Boudin's growing reputation enabled him to travel extensively in the 1870s. He visited Belgium, the Netherlands, and southern France, and from 1892 to 1895, made regular trips to Venice. He continued to exhibit at the Paris Salon, receiving a third place medal in 1881 and a gold medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle. In 1892, Boudin was made a knight of the Légion d'honneur, a somewhat tardy recognition of his talents and influence on the art of his contemporaries.  

Canvas: 21 1/2" high x 31 1/2" wide
Frame: 31 1/8" high x 40 7/8" wide

Select Artist's Exhibits:
Salon, Paris
Exposition Universelle, Paris

Select Artist's Museums:
Stockholm National Museum, Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
State Hermitage Museum, Russia
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, Scotland
Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco
The National Gallery, London
The Louvre, France
Alençon, France
Alger, France
Dieppe, France
Honfleur, France
Le Havre, France
Nantes, France
Reims, France

Artist's Awards and Honors:
Third Place Medal, Salon, Paris, 1881
Gold Medal, Exposition Universelle, 1889
Knight, Légion d'honneur, 1892

References:
19th-Century Art, 1984, Robert Rosenblum & H.W. Janson
Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 1976, E. Bénézit
Eugène Boudin: Paintings and Drawings, Musée Eugène Boudin, Honfleur, 1996, Anne-Marie Bergeret-Gourbin
Painting by William Bouguereau

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