Eugene Louis Boudin was fortunate to have encountered some of the most innovative painters in France during a time of great transition in the art world. Their guidance, advice and influence allowed him to become one of the first French landscape painters to work outdoors (en plein air) and to encounter many developing techniques in landscape painting. He would also be credited with inspiring another famous French painter, Claude Monet, to head out into the fresh air and natural light for his work. Years later Monet would consider Boudin such a positive influence that he asked the painter to join him and his friends in the historic first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.
Born into a seafaring family, Boudin's father abandoned this way of life early on. The affect of the sky, sea and shore however would play a strong role in the artist's choice of subject matter, so much so that the artist Corot would tell Boudin that he was a "master of the sky".
Working in his own frame making shop brought him into contact with the artists with whom he would form life long friendships, and by the age of twenty two he had embarked on a professional career as an artist. He would earn a scholarship that allowed him to move to Paris for his studies. It was here that his many friends, brought him eventually to the door of Charles Baudelaire, the writer and critic, who gave Boudin his first public notices.
By the 1870s Boudin was a popular and successful artist, winning medals in the Paris Salon and Exposition Universelle. In 1892 he was made a Knight of the Legion d'honneur, and the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts still awards the Eugene Boudin prize each year.
While Boudin is occasionally included in a listing of Impressionist painters, his work pre-dates the movement. Instead he is more of a link between the work of artists like Corot, who defy placement in any particular school, and the first Impressionists. Boudin focused his attention more on the light of a scene, rather than a specific technique or design. He used dabs of color and loose brush work to convey his scenes of the sea life, and his work is still popular and much emulated to this day.