Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824-1898)
Bruxelles, Le Canal de Louvain
Signed, dated ’71 and indistinctly inscribed
Oil on Panel
15⅛ x 23 inches – 38.4 x 58.4 cms
Having married in 1863 and settling in Paris, Eugène-Louis Boudin continued to travel extensively to Normandy and Brittany and, in the 1870’s to Belgium and The Netherlands. This example Le Canal de Louvain, Brussels, dates to 1871, three years prior to the landmark exhibition of the Impressionists in 1874 in which he exhibited, at a time when Boudin’s reputation was growing. As a younger man in 1867 Boudin shared a studio with Claude Monet (1840-1926) and advised him in the art of painting sky, and this work epitomizes Boudin’s achievements in this regard. Broadly painted ‘en plein air’ the still waters of the canal reflect the looming sky, poplars silhouetted in both canal and sky. Along the tow path figures stand and converse between the moored barges and the stucco buildings. It is a scene that contrasts commerce with the serenity of the waters and the parkland beyond.
Galerie Georges Petit, Paris;
L. Bernard, Paris (and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 11 May 1901, Lot 15);
M. Rosenberg, Paris, 1911;
Sir William van Horne, Montreal
Robert Schmit, "Eugène Boudin, Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre peint", Vol.I, Paris, 1973, p.230, No.636, illustrated
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, "Exposition Eugène Boudin", 1900, No.15
Eugène Boudin was the son of a seaman. At the age of twelve he worked as a clerk to a publisher and soon after to a stationer. In 1844 he set up, with a partner, his own stationers’ but after a dispute with his partner turned to painting in 1846.
Boudin associated with a number of artists including Théodule Augustin Ribot (1823-1891), Thomas Couture (1815-1879), Constant Troyon (1810-1865) and Louis-Gabriel-Eugène Isabey (1803-1886), and was encouraged to move to Paris to study. Success eluded him, however in 1859 Boudin was awarded a grant by the City of Le Havre to study in Paris for three years. Boudin travelled extensively and would do so all his life, in his early years painting in Normandy and Brittany.
In 1858 Boudin met and encouraged Claude Monet (1840-1926), although Boudin had yet to find a consistent market for his works, 1861 saw him reduced to painting skies for Thomas Couture (1815-1879) and Constant Troyon (1810-1865). Boudin married in 1863, settling in Paris but continuing to travel to Normandy and Brittany and in the 1870’s to Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1874 at the landmark exhibition of the Impressionists, Boudin showed three works, he did not however exhibit at their later shows. Financial success came in 1881 with the art dealer Paul Durand Ruel, who bought his work.
In 1884 Boudin was able to build a house in Deauville, source of so much of his subject matter. He visited and painted on the Mediterranean coast in 1894 and, 1895 painted in Venice. Boudin, although best known for his harbour and beach scenes, was a prolific painter of landscapes, cattle and village life in addition. He was highly regarded by his peers, Camille-Jean-Baptiste Corot (1796-1875), Johan Jongkind (1819-1891), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Troyon, Couture and Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), and in the influence he exerted on Monet, had a significant bearing on the birth of Impressionism.
His works can be found in museums in: London, National Gallery; Bayonne; Bordeaux; Caen; Cambrai; Dieppe; The Hague; Honfleur; Nantes; Paris; Rotterdam; Rouen; Stockholm; Cleveland; New York and Washington, National Gallery.