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Impressionist Normandy: the beaches of Eugène Boudin...

On May 14, participants in the "Normandy Impressionist" trip will visit the Eugène Boudin Museum in Honfleur.

It is all the impressionism that is already present in the work of Eugène Boudin (1826-1897), in the rendering of his skies, the melting of his colors, the bold touches of his brushes.

As a preamble to this visit, I suggest you take a walk on the beach, one of the artist's favorite themes of which Claude Monet said: "If I became a painter, it is to Eugène Boudin that I owe it..." .

La maison des familles Monet et Hoschedé à Vétheuil de nos jours.
Eugène Boudin. Vacanciers sur la plage à Trouville. 1864. Minneapolis Institute of Art

The service by train to Trouville and Deauville in 1863 makes these seaside resorts very popular with Parisians. While some jump into the water in bathing suits as elegant as they are improbable, the beach is above all a way for these holidaymakers of a new kind to socialize and enjoy the sea air.

Alfred Sisley. Inondations à Port-Marly. 1876. Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen
Eugène Boudin. Plage à Trouville. 1868. Collection particulière

Eugène Boudin will seize the theme and will treat it in multiple forms until 1896. Three hundred beaches of the Bay of Seine have been listed in his work. In 1863, he wrote to a friend: "One really likes my little ladies on the beach" (letter to F. Martin, 1863).

Camille Pissarro. Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen, soleil couchant, temps brumeux. 1896. Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen
Eugène Boudin. Plage à Trouville. 1865. Princeton University Art Museum

Eugène Boudin took Claude Monet under his wing in the late 1850s, when the budding artist was still a teenager drawing caricatures of Le Havre notables with some success. He convinced him to paint and literally made him discover the universe of color in a fascination for the transience of visual sensation and the effects of light and time on the landscape.

Claude Monet kept two sketches by Eugène Boudin in his bedroom in Giverny. On the death of the latter's wife, in 1889, he wrote to him, regretting not having seen him for a long time: "Nevertheless be certain of the friendship I have for you, as my gratitude for the advice you gave me, advice that made me who I am."

Created in 1869 in the premises of the Town Hall of Honfleur, the Eugène Boudin museum was transferred to the chapel of the Augustinian convent in 1924, where it still is. It benefits from the patronage of Madame Marcel Schlumberger, which enabled it to be renovated and enlarged in 1974. In 1988, four additional levels were created, which made it possible to redeploy the collections and devote two cabinets to Eugène Boudin.

Nowadays, the museum exhibits and preserves more than 2500 paintings, sculptures, drawings or engravings, more than 1000 objects and some 700 photographs on glass plates from the years 1880-1920,


Rue de l'homme de Bois

14600 Honfleur


To be continued... in the footsteps of Monet and his impressionist friends.

Dans ses conférences d'histoire de l'art, Fabrice Roy conjugue le passé au présent, dans une évocation poétique et ludique du 19ème siècle français...



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