The original talent of Eugène Boudin proved to be inspirational to the emerging French Impressionists and art appreciation the world over. He held himself to no pretensions of grandeur, but his real passion for his native country radiates on this canvas. This is a stand-out example of what caught Boudin’s fancy: simplicity of shapes and tones with a multitude of subtle shifts in color and light. His loose brush strokes bring forth a painting of an exacting compositional nature with the sky and sea as his prime subjects.
Born to a family descended from a long lineage of sailors and fishermen, Boudin possessed a love of nature and affinity for maritime subjects. The dual Camaret marinas of the northwesterly tip of Bretagne’s Crozon Penisula are accessible at all tides and are protected with their Easterly facing from the worst of the Atlantic’s weather. In Boudin’s days as in ours, the harbor would house all types of ships, such as the two-masted French Fishing Lugger at anchor to the coastal ship with masts down and sails laid square, surrounded by small boats of various styles. Centrally seen and identified directly by the painting’s title, a large deep-water sailing ship arrives while a horse-drawn cart makes its way to the town proper and a lone figure is on the opposite bank. Today the area houses fishing industry and resort villas, and is one of the premier pleasure yachting regions of the world.
This work from the artist’s most prolific decade presents a fine case with its reflective glassy water and accents of sunlight throughout the sky why Boudin was bestowed the title “The King of Skies” by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. Beneath the expanse of soft clouds, and with the humble human reality the distance across the water and headlands makes the painting work as a window into a world of yesterday.
Illustrated: Eugène Boudin 1824-1898, by Robert Schmit, 1973, Vol.I, p.255, No. 707.
Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Eugène Boudin en Bretagne, 1964, No.21.
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