Boudin, who owned a painting and frame shop in le Havre, first painted at the seaside resort of Trouville in 1862. Heeding the poet Charles Baudelaire's exhortation to paint modern life, Boudin was attracted to the scenes of Trouville's beaches as they were thronged with vacationers, whose seasonal arrival transformed the town into 'the Summer Boulevard of Paris.' His so-called 'crinoline' paintings, named for the ladies' fashionable hoopskirts, accounted for nine of the eleven paintings that Boudin showed at the Salon between 1864 and 1869, and won him wide notice.
The 1860s 'crinoline' paintings were done in the studio on a large or medium canvas format that was suitable for their formal exhibition venue. At the same time, Boudin painted many plein air studies on small panels, a support that was easier to handle outdoors. During the 1870s these accounted for most of the Boudin's Trouville beach scenes, and by the middle of the following decade, when the present painting was done, he used this format for all of his paintings in this genre. Boudin had essentially treated the earlier 'crinoline' paintings as landscapes seen from a distance, with low horizons and broad expanses of sky, while in the later panels he painted his subjects close-up, as if he were walking along the strand among them.
The later panels, moreover, show the growing influence of Impressionism on Boudin's work, mainly through the artist's friendship with the younger Claude Monet, another painter who hailed from Le Havre, and who had earlier looked to Boudin as a mentor. The handling in the studies of the mid-1880s is especially fresh and spontaneous. Boudin has clearly delighted in the deft use of a "loaded" brush, and as a result of this more painterly manner, the solid forms and patiently observed detail in the earlier paintings have yielded to the blur of movement and more fleeting atmospheric effects seen here.