Boudin, Eugène


Impressionism: partaker of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition

Eugène Boudin


Between Pre-Impressionism and Impressionism


Was Eugène Boudin an Impressionist?
Eugène Boudin only exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. In that sense you can say, that he was a side-figure in the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. But, he was an important inspirator for Monet. They stayed friends throughout the years. But Boudin, had not many contacts with other ‘impressionists’. Most of his contacts were with pre-Impressionists, like the Barbizon painters and also regional painters, like Dubourg.
When we look at his painting style, we see that Boudin painted en-plein-air. He tried to render the impression of the atmosperical circumstances and the influence of the light, though mostly he doesn’t mention this in the title of his paintings. But, when we look at his use of colours, we see that Boudin often used subdued colours and many grays and browns (R161,p64). He hardly used juxtaposed brushstrokes, nor blues and purples for the shades. In this sense Boudin just partly used an impressionist painting style. So, Boudin his painting style was somewhere between Pre-Impressionism and Impressionism.


Eugène(- Louis) Boudin at the Salon and other exhibitions:
In 1859 Boudin made his debut at the Salon (R161,p20;iR1;R3;iR65;iR3), which gave him some succes. In 1861 Boudin did not (admit and) exhibit at the Salon (R161,p24). Rewald mentions Boudin was accepted at the Salon of 1863 (R1,p84), but this is not confirmed by the Salon database (iR1). From 1864-79 Boudin exhibited yearly at the Salon (iR1). After 1874 a big succes at the Salon (R3). From 1880-89 Boudin exhibited yearly at the Salon des Sociéte des Artistes Français (=SdAF) (iR1). Boudin was awarded in 1881 with a 3rd class (bronze) medal and in 1883 with a 2nd class (silver) medal (aR1;R161,p70+73;iR1;R231/iR40;iR3). He exhibited hors concours in 1885-89 (iR1). In 1888 + 1892 works of Boudin were bought by the State (R161); in 1892 he was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (R161,p92). From 1890-97 Boudin exhibited at the Société National des Beaux-Arts (=SNBA) except in 1896 (iR1;R161). In 1899 there was a large, posthumous retrospective at the École National des Beaux-Arts with 457 art-works (R161,p92).
See link for his pictures. See link for an account.


Eugène Boudin only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition:
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Boudin showed 13 works, including 4 watercolours and 6 pastels (catalogue numbers 17-24).
Boudin is reviewed / named by at least 7 art-critics. Castagnary (1874/04/29) wrote that Boudin has commanded respect for years and his works are fought over at very high prices (R2,p125). Hervilly wrote that Boudin showed ’the fine flower of his research and daring talent’ (R87,p230). None of the art-critics described the exhibited works (R90II,p3). This makes it very hard to identify the paintings. Only De Montifaud mentioned the titles of number 17 and 18/19, summing it up in a list of marine paintings that were exhibited (R90I,p30).
See link for his pictures. See link for an account.


Eugène Boudin as an artist:
Boudin studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1851-53 (R3), still the Salon database doesn’t mention one of his teachers (iR1). Boudin was inspired by the en-plein-air painting of Corot (R3,p649;R161,p18). Dayez mentions that he received advice of Isabey and Troyon and was inspired by Corot, Courbet and most of all by Jongkind (R87). Jongkind had stimulated Boudin to adopt a greater freedom; his lines became more spontaneous and his colours brighter (R161,p25).
Around 1844-46 Boudin had contacts with Couture, Millet and Troyon; mainly in his own shop in Le Havre, where he framed pictures (iR3;R161,p8;iR65;aR1). Boudin spend time (in 1854 and later on) at the Saint-Siméon farm in Honfleur, which was a colony for painters as Corot, Courbet, François-Louis Français, Henri Harpignies, Constantin Troyon, Paul Huet,  Eugène Isabey, Alexandre Dubourg and Jongkind (R161,p13+14). Friendships were important for Boudin, who was greatly affected by the death of his friend Troyon (R161,p29). He was also befriended with Corot and Daubigny (1861 onwards; R161,p24;R1,p61), and later on with Théodule Ribot and Whistler (R161,p29). Boudin was also befriended with Dubourg (R161,p24) and Courbet (R161,p20+21+29;R1,p41/2;R3;iR22;iR3). Around 1862 there was a warm friendship between Boudin, Jongkind and Monet (R1,p69).
In 1854 Boudin wrote: “when I am walking … I look at the light which bathes the earth, shimmers on the water and plays on people’s clothing…” (R161,p12). He also wrote: “Everything that is painted directly on the spot, has always a strength, a power, a vividness of touch that one doesn’t find again in the studio.” He pleaded “retaining one’s first impression” and to render “the whole” (R1,p38).
Boudin was a painter of skies, they always took up at least 2/3 or 3/4 of the picture (R161,p26). In his Salon review of 1859, Baudelair praised the many studies of skies, which Boudin had made (in the years before): “their fantastic and luminous shapes, the chaotic darkness, the floating and intermingling masses of green and pink…”. (R161,p21;R1,p42). On these pastels Boudin wrote the date, the time and the wind. They were not exhibited at the Salon of 1859 (R161,p20;iR1; though other sources claim they were (R3;iR65;iR3); 4 of them were exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Corot once had said: “Boudin you are the master of the skies!” (R161,p24).

Boudin also was a ‘painter of beaches‘ (R161,p48). In the 1860s he made lots of works depicting middle-class people on the beaches of Trouville and elswhere “often resting from strenuous work” (R1,p44); but 1867/08/18 he “feels almost ashamed at painting the idle rich” (R161,p49). During his last years Boudin painted harly any beach scenes (R161,p76). Around 1872 the theme of harbours and ships had become more important, than the beaches (R161,p59). Many of his works depict the sea (R87). Other themes that Boudin often rendered in his pictures are: washerwoman, market places, sketches of cattle; other themes are village squares, farmyards, churches (R161,p76). Boudin was not a good portrait painter and just painted a few portraits (R161,p12+76).
In his paintings Boudin tried to render the changings in the atmosphere (R87). He always was caught by the light, which was the dominating element in his works (R74). He did not render volume, but light reflections (R74). Baudelaire reviewed that one could guess the season, the hour and the wind direction in his paintings (R74). He was a precursor of the Impressionists (R74). Some state that he was the first who suggested to paint en-plein-air (iR22), what is disputable. Others mentions he was inspired to do so by Jongkind (iR3). Boudin never liked bright sunshine, he was a painter of gray light (R161,p81+84). Boudin had fluctuating moods of happiness and depression, the latter reflected in works devoid of all human presence (R161,p21). Boudin often painted on wood (R161,p55).
Boudin was the teacher of Louis Braquaval (iR24). He influenced several artists like Cals and Louis-Alexandre Dubourg (iR24).


Eugène Boudin was an inspirator for Monet:
Some sources state that Boudin met Monet early 1858 and inspired him to paint en-plein-air. Monet was at first was not interested, but in the summer they painted together in Rouelles (R161,p18-20;R1,p38;R22I,p18;R3). Laurent Manoeuvre gives strong arguments that they already met August 1856 (R51,p18; see also iR3;iR22). Monet later would say: “If I have become a painter, it is entirely due to Eugène Boudin.” (R161,p20). In a letter (1920/05/08)  to Geffroy, his biographer, Monet would write “I consider Eugène Boudin as my teacher… I owe everything to Boudin and I am grateful to him for my success.” (R51,p26).
Boudin and Monet were life long friends (iR3), though their friendship would decline after 1883 (R51,p23). Boudin would always admire Monet his work. 1886/08/19 he wrote to Martin about an exposition of Monet “(paintings) have never been more vibrant or intense.” (R51,p24). They had frequent contacts: 1870/08 Boudin and Monet met in Trouville; later on Monet fled to London, while his wife and son first stay some time with the Boudin family (R51,p21). 1872/01/02 Boudin writes the art-dealer Martin: “We often see Monet at his place (in Argenteuil)” (R51,p21). Strangely in 1874/02/03 Boudin wrote Martin “Monet does not have the audacity to paint from nature” (R51,p22); did Monet not paint en-plein-air in 1874? In 2018 there was an exhibition in Madrid about Boudin and Monet (aR22;aR23;aR3;iR3;M100).


Louis-Eugène Boudin, a short biography:

  • 1824/07/12: Louis-Eugène Boudin was born in Honfleur (iR24;R161;iR1;R3;R74;iR22;iR3;aR1)
    His father Léonard-Sébastien Boudin had been a sailor and than worked on a ferry (aR1;R161;R3)
  • 1835: the family moved to Le Havre; his father opened a store (R161,p7;iR3;R3;iR22;aR1)
  • 1836ca: Eugène Boudin started working as a clerk and later worked in a shop (R161,p7)
  • 1844-46: with Jean Archer Boudin had a stationery and framing shop at 18, Rue de la Communauté, Le Havre (present location unknown); Boudin did meet Thoumas Couture, Constant Troyon, Jean-François Millet and others (R161,p7+8;R1,p38)
  • 1846: started painting full-time (R161,p8;iR3)
  • 1846-63ca: Boudin often had financial problems and sold his works for low prices (R161,p8+17+18)
  • 1846: lived with his family at 51, Grand-Quai, Le Havre (location uncertain) (R161,p8)
  • 1847: travelled to Paris (R161,p8;R3;iR22;iR3;aR1)
  • 1848-49: travelled through the north of France and Belgium (R161,p9;iR24;R3;iR3)
  • 1850: exhibited at the ‘Société des amis des arts du Havre‘ and sells two of his works (R161,p10;R3;iR22;iR3)
  • 1851/02: received a scolarship (R161,p10;R3;iR22;iR3)
  • 1851-53: studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (R3;R161); some sources mention he did not apparently engage in the studies and remained largely self-taught (aR1;R1,p38).
  • 1852: exhibited 11 pictures in the Le Havre Museum (R161,p11)
  • 1854: returned to Le Havre; first lived in the Rue de L’Orangerie (present location unknown) and later in Rue Séry (R161,p12)
  • 1854/07/18: stayed 3 months at Saint-Siméon farm (run by Mère Toutain) in Honfleur (R161,p13); some sources claim he started an art-centre here, visited by Monet, Bazille, Jongkind (R22)
  • 1855: painted in the surroundings of Douarnez and Quimper (R161,p18)
  • 1857: paints in Brittany, Finistère, Brest and makes many sketches at the pilgrimage of Sainte-Anne-La-Palud (R161,p18)
  • 1858: exhibits 11 paintings at the Le Havre Société des Amis des Arts (R161,p18;R51,p17)
  • 1859: met Courbet and Baudelaire in Honfleur (at the Saint-Siméon farm run by Mère Toutain) (R161,p20+21;R1,p41/2;R3;iR22;iR3)
  • 1859/Spring: lived at 10, Rue de la Halle, Le Havre (iR1; location unknown)
  • 1859: lived for a short time at 8, boulevard Montmartre, Paris, later painting in Quimper and returning to Le Havre (R161,p21)
  • 1860: first stay in Trouville, at the right bank of the Touques; Deauville at the opposite bank, became a fashionable resort; Boudin would often return to Trouville (R161,p21)
  • 1860ca: settled in Honfleur (R87;iR24)
    frequently visits the group of artists at the farm Saint-Siméon (R87)
  • 1861/winter: stays at 66,Rue Pigalle, Paris, with Marie-Anne Guédès, his later wife (R161,p21)
  • 1861: worked for Troyon (R161,p24;R1,p61;aR1)
  • 1861: start friendship with Corot and Daubigny (R161,p24;R1,p61).
  • 1862/06: organised with Dubourg an exhibition in Caen; it was a complete fiasco (R161,p24).
  • 1862/09/16: asked Jongkind to come to Trouville (R161,p24;R3); some sources claim they had met already in 1860 (R161,p24), others that it was Monet who introduced Jongkind to Boudin in 1862 (R1,p69;R161;aR1), which is not right (R22I,p40).
  • 1863: married Marie-Ane Guédès; they went to live at 27, Avenue Trudaine, Paris (R161,p26).
    Boudin would spent the summers at the Normandy (and Brittany) coast and the winters in Paris, renting appartments at different addresses (R161,p26+55).
  • 1863/06: death of his father (R161,p26)
  • 1864: lives at 14, Rue Durantin, Paris (Montmartre) (iR1;R161,p26).
  • 1864: was getting successfull with his beach scenes (R161,p26)
  • 1864/Summer: Boudin, Jongkind and Monet painted in Honfleur, staying at the Saint-Siméon farm (R22I,p53).
  • 1864-8: lives at 31, Rue Fontaine(-Saint-Georges), Paris (iR1;R161,p26).
  • 1867: took part at the Exposition Universelle and enjoyed a certain amount of success (R161,p54)
  • 1867/Spring: Boudin lived at 110, Boulevard Magenta, Paris (iR1).
  • 1867: stayed in London (R161).
  • 1868/03/25: Auction of 40 paintings and about 100 pastels and watercolours by Boudin at Hôtel Drouot in Paris; it was quite successfull (R161,p54;R22I,p70;R51,p20).
  • 1868/07/02 – 11/15: Exposition maritime internationale in Le Havre; Boudin, Courbet, Daubigny, Manet and Monet all exhibited; Boudin received a silver medal (R161,p54/5;R22IV,p1016)
  • 1869: exhibitions at Pau and Roubaix (R161,p55)
  • 1869: dealers like Martin, Hagerman and Gauchez repeatedly purchased works from Boudin, whose financial worries belonged to the past (R161,p55)
  • 1869: decorative painting for a castle in Bourdainville (R161,p55; Walther writes this was in 1868, R3).
  • 1869-76: studio at 31, Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris (iR1;R161,p91; note Selz wrongly at page 55 it was number 32).
  • 1870/1: stay in Brussels; (R3)
  • 1870/07/12: Boudin and his wife meet the Monet family in Trouville (R22I,p84).
  • 1870/09/13: left Trouville for Brittany (R22I,p85)
  • 1870/12/12: arrived in Brussels, 69, Rue de Mérode; later moved to 74, Rue de Hollande; also painted in Antwerp (R161,p55).
  • 1871/04: visited his sick mother in Le Havre, than went back to Brussels and Antwerp; he would return several times untill 1876 (R161,p59)
  • 1871/06: his mother died (R161,p59)
  • 1871: first symptoms of facial neugalgia (R161,p59)
  • 1871/12: returned from Belgium to Paris (R51,p21)
  • 1872/01/02: Boudin went to the housewarming party at Monet his new house in Argenteuil (R22I,p93).
    Monet also would occasionally visit Boudin (R22I,p99)
  • 1872-90: travelled to Belgium and Holland (Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Scheveningen (R161,p92;R3;iR24)
  • 1873: visited Bordeaux and Rotterdam (R161,p59); between 1874-76 Boudin would produce more than 75 pictures of Bordeaux (R161,p65)
  • 1877-81: studio at 54, Rue Lamartine, Paris (iR1); Selz mentions this was 1878 onwards (R161,p69), but the Salon database indicates that Boudin lived there already during the Salon of 1877 (iR1).
  • 1879/03: auction of 38 paintings, 20ca watercolours and a number of seaside sketches; the total brought him (just) 6000fr (R161,p69/70)
  • 1879/07: auction sale (together with Gautier) in Le Havre with 14 paintings of which he sold just 4 (R161,p70)
  • 1880: sold one painting for 900fr (R161,p70)
  • 1881: Boudin had received a 3rd class medal in 1881. (iR1)
  • 1881: Durand-Ruel bought the entire content of his studio and became his main art-dealer (R161,p70;R3;R87)
  • 1882-97: dwells at 11, Place Vintimille, Paris (in 1890 (wrongly) noted as no.13) (iR1;R161); probably untill early 1898 (R161,p84).
  • 1883/03/01: solo exhibition with 150 paintings, and series of pastels and watercolours at Durand-Ruel his new gallery 9, Boulevard de la Madeleine, Paris (R161,p70;R51,p23;R87;iR22;aR1); Boudin was called one of the best landscape artists of the present day, who renders the immediate impression of what he sees; Geffroy reviewed “These paintings (mainly seascapes) reproduce atmospheric conditions, the play of light…” (R161,p72/3).
  • 1883: Boudin had received a 2nd class medal in 1883. (iR1)
  • 1884: build ‘Villa des Ajoncs’ at Rue Olliffe, Deauville (R161,p73+87;R3)
  • 1884: visited Dordrecht and produced 45 pictures (R161,p73)
  • 1886/04: exhibited 23 works at the large exhibition in New York by Durand-Ruelthe impressionists from Paris‘ (R161,p73)
  • 1888/04/19: auction at Hôtel Drouot of 60 paintings, 30 pastels + 10 watercolours (R161,p79;aR11=iR19)
  • 1888/05-06: exhibition at Durand-Ruel together with Brown, Caillebotte, Lépine, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and Whistler (R22I,p241;R31,p303)
  • 1889/03/24: death of his wife (R161,p79)
  • 1889: received a golden medal at the Exposition Universelle (iR24;R161,p79;R3;R74;iR3;iR22).
  • 1889/07/08: exhibition at Durand-Ruel of 89 paintings, a series of pastels and 9 drawings (R161,p79;R87)
  • 1890: solo exhibition by Durand-Ruel in Boston with 13 paintings (R161,p79;R87)
  • 1890 onwards: spends the winter in the south of France (aR1)
  • 1891/03: solo exhibition at Durand-Ruel with 34 paintings, a number of pastels and many drawings (R161,p81;R87)
  • 1892/10: made Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur (iR24;R161,p81;R74;iR3;iR22)
  • 1892+94+95: stayed in Venice (R161;R3;iR3;iR22); more precise: 1894/06 and 1895/05 (R161,p82).
  • 1893 onwards: stayed the summers in Normandy and the winters in the Mediterranean (R161,p81).
  • 1895: Travelled to the Côte d’Azur (R161;R3). Other sources mention he did so in 1885 (aR1).
  • 1898/08/08: Boudin died in his villa in Deauville (iR24;R161,p87;R74;iR3;aR1)
  • 1898: buried at the Saint-Vincent cemetery in Montmartre (R161,p87).
  • There have been several larger exhibitions after his death (iR24)
  • 1898/12: posthumous exhibition in New York by Durand-Ruel (R161)
  • 1899/01/09-30: major retrospective with 457 works (364 paintings; 73 pastels; 20 watercolours) at the École des Beaux-Arts (aR10=iR40;R161,p87;iR65)
  • 1899/03/20: auction at Hôtel Drouot of the contents of Boudin’s studio, including 125 paintings, 98ca watercolours and 56ca pastels and drawings; forward by Arsène Alexandre (aR12=iR19;iR65;R161).
  • 1900: there were 3 works of Boudin exhibited at the World’s Fair (iR107)
  • 1900: publication of ‘Eugène Boudin: sa vie et son oeuvre’ by Gustave Cahen (iR6;iR19=aR8)
  • 1905/01-02: Durand-Ruel exhibition in London at the Grafton Galleries with works of Boudin at many other impressionists (R22I,p369;R31,p310)
  • 1922: publication of Georges Jean-Aubry: Eugène Boudin d’après des documents inédits, l’homme et l’œuvre (iR19=aR9)
  • 1931: large retrospective at the Salon d’Automne (iR23)
  • 1973: publication of the Catalogue Raisonné by Robert Schmit, containing 3651 oil paintings (R161,p87)
  • The Cabinet des Dessins at the Louvre has 5.887 drawings, pastels and watercolours of Boudin (R161,p87;M5a)
  • 2018: exhibition Monet / Boudin in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (aR3;aR22;aR23;M100)


My main sources are Selz (1991=R161) and Bergeret-Gourbin (2014=R51). Other main sources are: Rewald (1973, R1), Moffett (1986, R2), Walther (2013, R3,p649), Spiess (R16,px), Wildenstein (1996=R22I), Maillard (1968=R74), Dayez (1974,R87,p230), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3), WGI (iR22), RKD (iR24), Marques (iR65) and the additional references (=aRx; see below). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6), Joconde (iR23), (=iR40), the additional references (=aR; see below) and Google images (iR10). The-athenaeum (iR2). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading see:
Schmidt, Robert: Catalogue Raisonné (=R122)
Alexandre, Arsène: L’Oeuvre d’Eugène Boudin. Paris, 1899.
Cahen, Gustave: Eugène Boudin; sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1900. (199p) (=aR21;iR24;iR65).
Jean-Aubry, G.: Eugène Boudin d’après des documents inédits : l’homme et l’oeuvre. Paris : Bernheim-Jeune, 1922 (198p) (iR24)
Marx, Roger: Eugène Boudin (1824-1898). Paris, Crès, 1927. (47p) (iR24)
Bénézit (1976,=R75), Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (R81) (iR60).
Chaleil, Frédéric: Eugène Boudin par ses contemporains. Paris, 2013 (iR24)
The father of Impressionism; Eugène Boudin and his circle. London, 2016 (iR24).
López-Manzanares, Ángel: Monet/Boudin. Exhibition Catalogue. Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2018 (264p; only in Spanish) (=M100;aR23)

Additional references (=aRx):

  1. Vanished French Impressionist 2  (article of the eclecticlight on Boudin and others;=iR35)
  2. (very many pictures without information with irritating pop-ups)
  3. (article on the Monet/Boudin exhibition in Madrid in 2018=iR11)
  4. (article from Art-Daily (2018/08/19) on the same exhibition=iR11)
  5. “Eugène Boudin.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Dec 17, 2020. ; =iR261.
  6. (database of album with drawings / sketches of Eugène Boudin; =iR23)
  7. (database of pictures of Boudin in French musea; =iR23)
  8. (PDF of Gustave Cahen: Eugène Boudin: sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1900; =iR19)
  9. (PDF of Georges Jean-Aubry: Eugène Boudin d’après des documents inédits, l’homme et l’œuvre. Paris, 1922 ; =iR19)
  10. (catalogue of the exhibition at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1899;=iR40)
  11. (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot auction 1888/04/19; =iR19)
  12. (PDF of the catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot auction 1889/03/20+21; = iR19)
  13. (overview of documents and paintings on this website; =iR19)
  14. (overview of documents on this great database; = iR40)
  15. (overview of works and documents; =iR26)
  16. (catalogue of the Durand-Ruel exhibition 1889/08/14; =iR40)
  17. (collection of drawings, pastels at the Louvre; =M5)
  18. (overview of sky studies by Boudin in Musée Malraux; =M15)
  19.ène_boudin (starting page on Boudin of the Musée Malraux website; =M15)
  20. (article by Roger Marx on Boudin (Le roi des ciels) in L’amour de l’art, 1927, p355-359; =iR40 = R356)
  21.  (PDF of Cahen, Gustave: Eugène Boudin, sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1900.; =iR19 = R382)
  22. (info on the exposition Monet/Boudin in the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid =M100)
  23. (digital publication on the 2018 exposition Monet/Boudin in the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid =M100)
  24. (article in German on developments preceding the ‘impressionist’ expositions, including on Boudin; =iR59)


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Eugène Boudin, between Pre-Impressionism and Impressionism. Last modified 2024/01/08.”

Note: additional info and pictures will be added.