European Art: 19th Century

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Beach at Trouville, 1880

Louis-Eugène Boudin

French, 1824-1898
Oil on panel
5-7/8 x 9-7/8 in. (14.9 x 25.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. Cary Grant
P.1980.2.1
© Norton Simon Museum

On view

Louis-Eugène Boudin created some four thousand paintings and nearly seven thousand drawings during his long career, and he most frequently depictes the social scene on the Norman beaches of Trouville and Deauville. This seemingly repetitious subject matter belies the meaningful issues presented in Boudin’s work, as his quickly rendered depictions—begun years before the Impressionists were to capture similar scenes en plein air—convey how men related to women, how women related to their children, and how families related to one another. The painting completed in 1880, for example, depicts no men, suggesting that the women, with their children and nannies, had arrived at the beach before their working husbands joined them for the month of August. The latest painting, dated 1888, is the only extant Trouville beach painting from that year, and the scene of children at play in the sand, among only women, again suggests a traditional gender divide.

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