Eugéne Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint in the open air directly from nature. His many beach scenes directly link the carefully observed naturalism of the early 19th century and the brilliant light and fluid brushwork of late 19th-century Impressionism.
Encouraged at an early age by the French landscape artist Jean-François Millet, Boudin studied briefly in Paris, where he became enamored of the paintings of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Back on the Atlantic coast in 1853, Boudin began to paint the sea, his lifelong passion, making careful annotations on the backs of his paintings of the weather, the light, and the time of day. In 1858 he met Claude Monet, then only 18 years old, and persuaded him to become a landscape painter, helping to instill in him a love of bright hues and the play of light on the water later evident in Monet’s Impressionist paintings.
Boudin exhibited with the Impressionists in 1874 but was not an innovator, and from 1875 onward he exhibited in the official Salon. Although his beach scenes sold well, he received little recognition until 1888, when the French government began to buy a few of his works for the Luxembourg Gallery. He eventually was generally recognized as a master and in 1892, when he was 68 years old, he received the Legion of Honour.