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Low Tide, Berck, 1886

Louis-Eugène Boudin

French, 1824-1898
Oil on canvas
19-3/4 x 24-1/8 in. (50.2 x 61.3 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

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Known as a pleinairiste, Boudin was among the first artists to paint entire compositions, rather than just sketches, outdoors (en plein air). He spent much of his career on the beaches of Normandy, capturing fleeting effects of light and weather. In his later years, Boudin preferred the rugged fishing village of Berck-sur-Mer to the casinos and resorts of more famous beach towns like Trouville, where he had made his name in the 1860s as a painter of vacationing Parisians. Here, visiting Berck in the off-season, he portrayed locals digging for clams at low tide, tiny figures under a soaring, stormy sky.

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