The forerunner of the Impressionist Artists (1824 – 1898)

Eugene Boudin was born in Honfleur and was one of the first French landscape painters to paint in the open air (plein-air painting), directly from nature.

Boudin  painted the sea, annotating on the backs of his canvases details about the weather, the light, and the time of day.

Etretat : Eugene Boudin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1858 he met Claude Monet, then only 18 years old, and persuaded him to become a landscape painter. He encouraged him to look at the bright hues and the play of light on water later. These lessons are now evident in Monet’s Impressionist paintings.

Plein-Air Painting

Boudin taught Monet plein-air painting that was later to be the foundation of the future Impressionism:

“Three brush strokes from nature are worth two days in the studio.” Boudin

Monet says after learning from Boudin plein-air painting:

“My eyes were finally opened and I really understood nature; I learned at the same time to love it.” Claude Monet Quotes

Boudin regularly exhibited at the Salon and was included in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. Despite painting outdoors, Boudin never went as far as the Impressionists in their unrestrained use of color and brushwork.

Boudin’s subject matter was mainly landscapes in the Normandy area. The places he loved and painted and that I recommend you visit when you travel to France are Honfleur, Trouville – Deauville and, Etretat. Check out these pages for more travel information.

Also, I note that in Honfleur, there is a wonderful museum called the Eugene Boudin Museum which I highly recommend you visit.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend the wonderful book: Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell.  In her book, Cowell also covers the period of Monet studying under the wing of Boudin. Click here to read a review of this wonderful book.