Eugene Boudin and Claude Monet: the two geniuses united in one exhibition
The exhibition is structured chronologically and thematically into eight sections. Monet / Boudin emphasises the two painters' shared artistic concerns such as their interest in the iconography of modern life as reflected in scenes of summer-holiday visitors on the beach at Trouville; changing effects of light, to be seen in most of their oils and pastels; and the largely untamed nature of the Brittany and Normandy coastlines.
Both artists painted outdoors and learnt a lot from each other. An example of the similarity between the works of the French artists can be seen in The Meuse at Dordrecht (1882) by Boudin and in The Regatta at Saint-Adresse (1867) by Monet.
- Eugene Boudin. The Meuse at Dordrecht. 1882. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
- Claude Monet. Regatta at Sainte-Adresse. 1867. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Over the following years, Monet followed Boudin in the ×A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? read more of painters who reached their maturity in the 1830s such as Rousseau and Daubigny. His departure for Paris in 1859 could have removed him from the influence of Boudin but his frequent visits to Le Havre, their correspondence and the two painters' artistic output demonstrates the close links which they maintained. As a result, the initial relationship between mentor and pupil changed to one of mutual admiration and inspiration.
In addition to following Jongkind’s example, Monet also looked at Courbet and Manet’s marine views and began to produce large-scale compositions painted outdoors. One example is The Beach at Sainte-Adresse (1867), one of the most important works from his early phase. In this canvas, Monet employed cool, glittering tones which anticipate Impressionism and distance him from the grey tonalities of Boudin’s works. Furthermore, while Boudin tended to separate local Normandy people from Parisians, Monet mixed them together as a single social reality.
Over the years, he opted for smaller, more vibrant compositions aimed at a more limited group of collectors, and in 1870, he largely abandoned his beach scenes in order to focus more intensively on marine views, which were more in demand.
- Claude Monet. Camille on the Beach at Trouville(1870)
- Claude Monet. The Beach at Trouville(1870)
Around the late 1850s, Boudin started to produce pastel sky studies in which he made use of the material’s flexibility to rapidly capture the appearance of the sky at different times of the day, in different seasons and weather conditions. Among the new generation of artists it was Monet who derived the most direct lesson from these studies, producing more than 100 pastels during his career. The earliest make use of outlines to define the motifs but he soon moved towards simpler compositions based on two or three strips of colour dotted with small, secondary elements.
In recognition of his role in the emergence of Impressionism, Monet invited his teacher to take part in the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874.
Boudin exhibited three canvases, four watercolours and six pastels. In addition to five canvases, Monet showed seven pastels, which can be seen as a homage to his mentor. Baptised «the King of the Skies» by Corot, Boudin continued to paint works of this type throughout his life, using brighter and more luminous colours in his late period and in the wake of Impressionism.
Left: Eugene Boudin at Deauville — Trouville
In 1878, Monet started to paint various groups of canvases in Vétheuil, including Arm of the Seine near Vétheuil (1878) and The Flood (1881), although the group of works that comes closest to his later series, is the 16 oils on the Seine thawing in 1880.
Title illustration: Above: Eugène Boudin, ‘The Eure Bassin at Le Havre,' 1885 (detail) Musée d’Art, Histoire et Archéologie, Évreux (France) © Jean-Pierre Godais. Musée d’Art, Histoire et Archéologie, Ville d'Évreux; Below: Claude Monet, ‘The Flood,' 1881 (detail) Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck / Collection Rau for UNICEF. Remagen, Germany © Peter Schälchli, Zurich