The Meuse at Dordrecht

Eugène Louis Boudin, 'The Meuse at Dordrecht', 1882

Eugène Louis Boudin

The Meuse at Dordrecht, 1882

Oil on canvas, 117 x 159 cm
Presented, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, 1950

Believing that "everything painted on the spot always has a strength, a power, a vividness of touch that is not to be found again in the studio", Eugène Boudin was one of the major precursors of French Impressionism. In his on lifetime, he was regarded as a modern descendant of the great Dutch seventeenth-century marine painters. He discovered Holland surprisingly late in his career, travelling there for the first time in 1876. As always, with his great love of the sea, he was drawn to cities with busy ports, like Rotterdam and Dordrecht. At Dordrecht he enjoyed the picturesque attraction of the River Meuse and, in a letter to a friend, he described the tranquillity of watching the river as it flowed under a beautiful sky. It was always Boudin's aim to capture the atmosphere: the formation and movement of the clouds, the motion of the water, and the unifying light.

Although he participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, he remained a naturalist, and his palette never developed into the broken touches of paint characteristic of the Impressionists.