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Eugène Boudin

Trouville, 1880

Oil on canvas.

Collection of the McNay Art Museum, museum purchase with the Helen and Everett H. Jones Purchase Fund and the Ralph A. Anderson Jr. Memorial Fund, with additional funds from Charline and Red McCombs, and, by exchange, from the bequest of Gloria and Dan Oppenheimer, Mrs. Robert Wesselhoeft Jr., and the Louise C. Clemens Trust.


Like many artists of this era, Boudin painted scenes of everyday life: ships, beaches, and the ever-changing skies of the Normandy Coast. However, many of his earlier works portray Trouville as a port of leisure where the high society crowds gathered to relax on the beach. This depiction of Trouville, on the other hand, is less a scene of leisure and more a reflection of industry. The careful rendering of blue-gray clouds, a demonstration of the Impressionist interest in light and atmosphere, blends into a haze of pollution along the horizon, and the sunlight reflecting brightly off the clouds can’t penetrate this smog to light up any of the buildings, ships, or even the water. It is nearly impossible to discern any people in this scene save for three figures in a small boat near the bottom left of the composition who appear to be working rather than enjoying a day on the coast.