The Meuse at Dordrecht

Eugène Boudin (1824-98), 'The Meuse at Dordrecht', 1882

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824–1898)

The Meuse at Dordrecht, 1882

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

Boudin painted many major European harbours, rivers and coastlines over the course of his career. He visited Holland for the first time in 1876, returning in 1882 to paint the River Meuse. This is one of the largest views of the river that he painted. Full of life and movement, it shows a variety of ships, yachts and fishing craft setting out to sea and returning to dock. Boudin was fascinated by the effects of light and weather on land, sea and sky. In this work, two thirds of the composition is given over to the sky and the artist has used broad, vigorous brushstrokes to convey the movement of grey clouds across it. Corot referred to Boudin as ‘the king of the skies’. 


About the artist

Boudin was an important precursor of Impressionism. He was one of the first artists to embrace open-air painting. His direct approach to painting nature informed the work of several of the Impressionists including Monet, whom he encouraged to paint landscapes, en plein air. Although Boudin participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, he remained a naturalist painter.