National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Beach Scene at Trouville Eugène Boudin (artist)
French, 1824 - 1898
Beach Scene at Trouville, 1863
oil on wood
overall: 34.8 x 57.5 cm (13 11/16 x 22 5/8 in.) framed: 55.6 x 78.1 x 3.8 cm (21 7/8 x 30 3/4 x 1 1/2 in.)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
Not on View
From the Tour: The Beginnings of Impressionist Landscape
Object 2 of 7

When Boudin began to paint vacationers on the beaches of Normandy, his subject was unconventional. Seascapes, often populated with small peasant figures or fishermen, still attracted French painters in the mid-1800s. But Boudin's images, unlike those of other rustic genre scenes, recorded a new phenomenon, the tourist with money and leisure time. His subjects were also his buyers, and he satisfied them by producing more than four thousand paintings like this one.

Boudin's beach scenes, though crowded, lack obvious narrative or anecdote. He characterized not individuals, but the bourgeoisie and their postures and fashions, including the huge crinolines that in high winds occasionally sent women over cliffs or into carriage wheels. Like the plume of smoke issuing from a steamer, the anonymity of the figures imparts a sense of modern life. Boudin seems to have been a bit ambivalent about his subjects. At times he defended them, but he also dismissed them as "gilded parasites," to insist that his true subjects were light and color.

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