The son of a sea captain, Eugène Boudin grew up on the Normandy coast and spent much of his life painting its harbors and beaches. In the 1870s he made several visits to the rapidly expanding seaside resort of Trouville. The beach front of the town, with its grand hotels and casino, was popular with visitors from Paris, but Boudin's love of ships and harbor activity drew him to the port, a sandy basin into which the Touques River fed before reaching the sea through a series of jetties, which are just visible on the far left of the painting. The waterfront is dominated by a long row of buildings and ships tied up at the quay, yet these structures are merely a frieze above which gray-lined clouds roll across the sky. Boudin's meticulous attention to atmospheric conditions and cloud formations caused Corot to dub him "king of the skies." Created outdoors on small canvases, Boudin's marine paintings record the contemporary landscape of France in an unidealized fashion. Their charm and intimate scale, well suited for domestic interiors, appealed to collectors. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p.44.
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