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People on the Beach at Trouville (Personnages sur la plage à Trouville)

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People on the Beach at Trouville (Personnages sur la plage à Trouville)

1864
6 9/16 x 12 9/16 in. (16.6 x 31.9 cm)

Eugène-Louis Boudin
French (1824 - 1898)

Object Type: Watercolor
Medium and Support: Watercolor over pencil on laid paper, laid down on brown wove paper
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr.
Accession Number: 1991.79
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view
Collection: Lockhart Collection

"I have never forgotten that you were the first who taught me to see and to comprehend." --Claude Monet to Eugène Boudin, 1892

Eugène Boudin’s method of painting beach scenes en plein air and his attention to rendering the changes in natural light caused by weather and the time of day had a particular influence on the early work of Claude Monet. Best known for his paintings of vacationers on the beaches of the village of Trouville, Boudin was himself somewhat ambivalent about the idle nature of his subjects. The true focus of his paintings was natural light. As he wrote in a letter to a friend, "Should I confess it? This beach at Trouville which used to be my delight, now, since my return, seems like a frightful masquerade….When you’ve just spent a month among people devoted to the rough work of the fields, to black bread and water, and then you see again this bunch of gilded parasites who have so triumphant an air, it strikes you as pitiable and you feel a certain shame in painting such idleness. Fortunately…the Creator has spread out everywhere his splendid and warming light, and it is less this society that we produce than the element which envelops it."

[Label copy from Monet: Vision and Process exhibition, 2018]

Boudin’s method of painting beach scenes en plein air (“in the open air”) is linked to the work of the Impressionists. His attention to rendering the changes in natural light caused by weather and the time of day had a particular influence on the early work of Claude Monet.

Although best known for his paintings of vacationers on the beaches of the village of Trouville, he was somewhat ambivalent about his subjects. The true focus of his paintings was natural light. As he wrote in a letter to a friend upon his return from Brittany, where he had painted peasants laboring in the fields:

“Should I confess it? This beach at Trouville which used to be my delight, now, since my return, seems like a frightful masquerade…When you’ve just spent a month among people devoted to the rough work of the fields, to black bread and water, and then you see again this bunch of gilded parasites who have so triumphant an air, it strikes you as pitiable and you feel a certain shame in painting such idleness. Fortunately…the Creator has spread out everywhere his splendid and warming light, and it is less this society that we produce than the element which envelops it.”

[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]

Provenance
Thomas Edward Hanley (1893-1969), Bradford, Pennsylvania; Knoedler & Co., New York (dealers); Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr., Geneseo, New York; their gift to the Gallery in 1991

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It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue Entry for this artwork in the It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue. The exhibition ran from March 17-June 9, 2013


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