Houses by the edge of a river
12 Jul 1824 - 08 Aug 1898
Boudin was born in Honfleur in 1824, the son of a ship’s captain. He lived mainly in Le Havre, but travelled extensively along the sea coasts of France. His framing shop in Le Havre was visited by painters such as Jean-François Millet, who encouraged him to paint. Other important influences included Théodule Ribot, Thomas Couture, Constant Troyon and Eugène Isabey. In 1847 he went to Paris to become a professional painter. He also made contact with the painters of the Barbizon School. Boudin was largely self-taught and he specialised in plein-air seascapes and harbour scenes with luminous skies taking up much of the picture space. His small views of the coast of northern France – often depicting the fashionable crowds who frequented the resort beaches – were avidly collected and ensured Boudin’s success. In 1881 he signed a contract with the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, with resulting American sales.
Boudin was a precursor of Impressionism, bridging the landscape painting of his friend Corot with that of his younger friends, the Impressionists. He wrote that three brushstrokes made outdoors in nature were greater than two days’ work at the easel. In about 1856 Boudin met Monet and introduced him to outdoor painting. The two worked together in the 1860s. Boudin exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. He was a regular participant at the Paris Salon, and contributed to provincial exhibitions at Le Havre, Rouen, Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
Boudin was a dedicated draughtsman who produced quantities of informal studies for his private use, although many of his pencil and coloured wash sketches of fashionable people on the beach were sold to collectors during his lifetime. Some 6,000 drawings remaining in Boudin’s studio at the time of his death in 1898 were bequeathed to the Louvre.
This drawing probably dates from the early 1850s and is characteristic of the peaceful river scenery, featuring ramshackle buildings and a public wash house, that attracted Boudin on his early sketching tours.
Untitled (Houses by the edge of a stream)
28.6 x 45.1 cm sheet; 40.7 x 59.2 x 2.2 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r., red graphite (?) “E. Boudin” [the signature has fainted]. Not dated.
The Estate of James O Fairfax
Not on display
Referenced in 1 publication
The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Sydney, 1992, p .