Eugène BOUDIN (Honfleur 1824 - Deauville 1898)

Sky Study

Oil on brown paper. 
Stamped with the atelier stamp E.B. (Lugt 828) in blue ink at the lower left.
Indistinctly inscribed in pencil at the lower left and in the centre of the sheet.
124 x 161 mm. (4 7/8 x 6 3/8 in.)


Eugène Boudin was particularly drawn to the sky, and he produced numerous studies of clouds and skies. As he wrote in one of his notebooks, ‘To swim in the open sky. To achieve a cloud’s tenderness. To suspend those background masses, far off in the grey mist, and break up the azure…What delight and what torment!...Did they do better in the past? Did the Dutchmen achieve that poetry of clouds I seek? That tenderness of the sky which even extends to admiration, to worship: it’s no exaggeration.’

Writing in 1859, Charles Baudelaire noted of that he had recently seen a large number of Boudin’s studies, ‘improvised facing sea and sky’, in the artist’s studio. He noted that ‘M. Boudin, who might pride himself on his devotion to his art, shows his curious collection with great modesty. He knows full well that it must all become a painting, by means of the poetic impression recalled at will: and he does not pretend to pass of his notes off for paintings…These studies, so swiftly and accurately sketched, after what, in terms of force and colour, are the most inconstant, the most fleeting of things, after waves and clouds…all these clouds with their fantastic, luminous shapes…’ The writer Alexandre Dumas also admired Boudin’s sky studies, writing to the artist, ‘Vous m’avez promis aussi un grand ciel…’

A group of comparable sky and cloud studies in pastel are in the collection of the Musée Eugène Boudin in Honfleur, while another similar example is in the Louvre.

The studio of the artist
Probably the Boudin atelier sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 20-21 March 1899.


Sky Study


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