We love La Baie de Saint-Jeanth because it has more energy and brighter colors than most of his earlier coastal works. While Boudin is well known for painting the sea, beach parties and sailboats, this piece is more focused on the beauty of the landscape. The brush work is masterfully done to create the light and texture of the scene. This is a strong piece that is indicative of work done later in Eugene Boudin’s career.
By age 26, Eugene Boudin traveled to Paris and was exposed to many styles of art. He was particularly influenced by 17th Century Dutch masters. It was at this time that fellow artist, Johan Jongkin, encouraged him to paint plein-air. He was one of the first French artists to do so. He was soon introduced to art critic, Charles Baudelaire who helped him build his reputation and exhibit at the Paris Salon. He won a third-place medal in 1881 and a Gold Medal in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle. He also became a knight of the Légion of Honor.
In 1874, Boudin exhibited his work along with his friend, Claude Monet in the first Impressionist exhibition. He was never considered as avant-garde as the other artist working in this style. He always retained elements of Realism. Famous Paris dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel took an interest in Eugene Boudin’s work and helped to firmly establish his place in art history.
Nature was an important influence on his work. He wrote: “Nature is far richer than I can ever represent her. My pictures are flawed, perhaps my dreams are better. Perfection! Elusive perfection. Sometimes I look at the light which bathes the earth, shimmers on water, and plays on people’s clothing and I feel positively faint at the idea of how much genius is necessary to overcome so many difficulties.”
Eugene Boudin traveled to the Mediterranean late in his career and fell in love with the light and color found there. This influence is seen in his later work as his color pallet becomes more vibrant. This remarkable artist died in 1898.