Eugène Louis Boudin (French, 1824–1898), one of the first artists to paint en plein air, was best known for his marine scenes. Born in Honfleur, France to a harbor pilot and his wife, Boudin became involved in art while working at an art supply shop in Le Havre. It was during this brief employment that Jean-Francois Millet (French, 1814–1875) bought one of his paintings, and proceeded to give the artist his only formal training. After his first exhibition in Le Havre in 1852, the town awarded Boudin a three-year scholarship in Paris.

While in Paris, he met Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), who would become a lifelong friend. He is said to have greatly influenced Monet’s work after persuading him to take up landscape painting, and the two exhibited together at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The artist traveled extensively in Belgium and the Netherlands, and also made many trips to Venice, Italy. Boudin received a medal at the Paris Salon of 1881, and in 1892, his talent was acknowledged when he was made a knight of the Légion d’honneur. He died in Deauville in 1898, not far from the channel waters he portrayed so vibrantly.

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Eugène Boudin was one of the most important precursors of the Impressionists, his ever increasing critical acclaim rests on an unrivalled reputation as a master of beach and coastal scenes.
Born in Honfleur, Boudin was the son of a harbour pilot. In 1844, he opened a stationary and framing shop in Le Havre, where his clients included Thomas Couture, Eugène Isabey, Jean François Millet and Constant Troyon. Although Boudin had no academic training, he spent much time drawing, and the visiting painters greatly encouraged his innate artistic ability.
In 1847, Boudin went to Paris and devoted his attention to studying and copying Old Masters in the Louvre. In 1851, he was awarded a three year scholarship by the City of Le Havre. However, instead of pursuing indoor, academic studio work, Boudin was inspired by the idea of painting ' en plein air', and made a number of painting trips to Le Havre, Honfleur and other coastal towns in Northern France. He made his debut at the Salon in 1859, where his work was much admired by Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Courbet, and he was heralded by Corot as the 'king of the skies'.
It was Boudin who was to become Monet's first teacher, persuading him to paint out of doors, and in 1874, he was invited to participate in the first Impressionist exhibition.
He spent the rest of his career painting primarily around the coast of Le Havre, Honfleur and Trouville, inspired by the elegant society that peopled the sparkling coasts. Whilst painting at Trouville, he met the Dutch artist, Johan Barthold Jongkind, and, influenced by his boldness of technique, Boudin adopted a freer brushwork and brighter palette.
The exquisite sensibility of Boudin's work was recognised by the dealer Durand-Ruel, who organised exhibitions of his pictures in 1883, 1889, 1890 and 1891; in 1892, Boudin was awarded the Légion d'honneur.
Works by Eugène Boudin can be found in the many museums world wide including: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Gallery, London; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Musée du Louvre, Paris and The Hermitage, St Petersburg.