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Eugène Boudin, Deauville Harbour

Key facts
Full title Deauville Harbour
Artist Eugène Boudin
Artist dates 1824 - 1898
Date made about 1888-90
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 28.8 × 41.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Henry L. Florence, 1916
Inventory number NG3050
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Deauville Harbour
Eugène Boudin

Born in Honfleur, Boudin – the son of a ship’s captain – was constantly fascinated by the life of Normandy ports. He based himself each summer from 1864 on the coast, in Trouville and its sister town Deauville, which sit either side of the river Touques. In 1884 he even built a house in Deauville.

Boudin painted the port of Deauville throughout his career, recording it as it developed and grew busier with trade, fishing boats and the yachts of wealthy visitors. In this picture, magnificent sailing ships, their tall masts punctuating the cloud-filled sky, sit in the harbour, their hulls reflected in the still waters. The scene is curiously devoid of people: the only hint of a human presence is the hastily sketched in suggestion of two figures in a boat beside the central ship. Boudin painted such scenes as this partly to satisfy the demands of dealers but also because he wanted to capture the movement of water and clouds, the gleam of light playing on waves and the characteristic motion of ships.

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