Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)
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Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)

L'Ecluse à Saint-Valéry sur Somme

Details
Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)
L'Ecluse à Saint-Valéry sur Somme
signed and dated 'E Boudin 91. S Valery' (lower left)
oil on canvas
19¾ x 24 1/8in. (49.2 x 61.2cm.)
Painted in 1891
Provenance
Adolphe Tavernier, Paris, by 1899; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 6 March 1900, lot 2 (FFr 2,850).
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
M. Bamberger, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17 March 1923, lot 6 (FFr 9,000).
Galerie Georges Petit, Paris.
Anon. sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, 25 February 1943, lot 41.
G. Dereppe, New York, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 27 June 1994, lot 1.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
R. Schmit, Eugène Boudin 1824-1898, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. III, Paris, 1973, no. 2798 (illustrated p. 85).
Exhibited
Paris, Ecole National des Beaux-Arts, Exposition des oeuvres d'Eugène Boudin, Jan. 1899, no. 86.
Special notice

Christie's generally offer property consigned by others for sale at public auction. From time to time, lots are offered which Christie's International Plc or one of its subsidiary companies owns in whole or in part. Such a lot is offered subject to a reserve, unless otherwise stated. This is such a lot.
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Lot Essay

The present work was painted in Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme in 1891 while Boudin was touring the coastline of north-west France. The previous year had seen Boudin's growing success reach new heights. Durand-Ruel held his third exhibition of the artist's works at his gallery in Paris, as well as organising a show in Boston at Chase's Gallery. The paintings which Boudin sent to the Amis des Arts exhibition in Le Havre all sold, equalling the success that he had already attained at the Salon of the Société des Beaux-Arts and at the 1889 World Exhibition. Lacking paintings to meet the commissions of a rapidly expanding client base clamouring to buy pictures, Boudin spent the summer painting on the coast of Normandy.

In L'Ecluse à Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme Boudin balances the two broad expanses of the composition; in the foreground, the canal with its delicate reflections and sun-drenched banks; above, the limitless sky, heavy and fluid with low clouds. The whole composition is drenched in strong sunlight, testament to Boudin's unrivalled ability to capture the effects of weather and atmosphere. 'Sometimes when I'm out walking, in a melancholy frame of mind I look at this light which floods the earth, which quivers on the water and plays on clothes and it is frightening to think how much genius is required to capture so many difficulties, how limited man's spirit is, not being able to put all these things together in his head. And then again I sense that poetry is there and sense how to capture it. I sometimes catch a glimpse of what would have to be expressed' (G. de Knyff, Boudin raconté par lui-même, Sa vie, son atelier, son oeuvre, Paris, 1976, p. 42).

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