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La Seine à Mailleraye près de Quillebeuf, Normandie

Origin France
Period 19th Century
Materials Oil on Canvas
W. 28 in; H. 19.13 in;
W. 71.12 cm; H. 48.59 cm;
Condition Excellent. Overall excellent, unlined. Frame recently regilded.
Creation Date Dated 1893
Description Master French Impressionist Eugene Boudin was very familiar with Northern France’s Normandy coast, particularly the region known as Seine Maritime which surrounds the northern-most part of the Seine and the northwest coastline lined with beaches and resort towns facing the English Channel. Boudin lived in both Honfleur and Le Havre, cities on either side of the river at its end, and was known to have painted all over this region throughout his life.

In this remarkable image Boudin has captured an area of great natural beauty enjoyed by locals and travelers throughout French history. This land, along the Seine between Le Havre on the coast and Rouen is now a large protected area or Regional Natural Park named for the long looping turns the river takes through the area’s small villages, ancient landmarks and fertile farmlands - Boucles de la Seine.

A man in blue stands on the bank to the left, staring out at the wide expanse of the Seine at one of its dramatic turnings. Perhaps he is waiting on the approach of the small boat with several figures heading for the pylons along the shore. Behind him is a small house set amid tall trees and hedgerows, probably holly or tadpole trees, typically used by locals delineate property. Powerful symbols of Norman culture, trees also symbolized durability and even immortality in myths and legends of the area. The river's rich banks likely added to these legends, supporting acres of farms and orchards. Out on the river's deeper waters a steamship is heading north, and perhaps the small boat alongside is loading a cargo of the area's famous apples.

The painting's expansive composition, anchored by a charming pastoral scene on the near bank, allowed Boudin to display all his mature skill and artistic mastery with hallmarks of his most desired works. The sky dominates the painting with cloud formations and dramatic interplays of light and shadow. Strong coloration is applied with lively brushwork- deep blues in the distance set with warm oranges on the far shore are echoed by loose strokes and lighter shades in the nearby farm. Striking multifaceted deep greens applied with swift movement make the trees spring to life while the whole work is offset with touches of Boudin’s signature red on the boats in the distance and on one hiding set in the rushes onshore. This is an outstanding example of the artist’s work.
Styles / Movements Impressionism
Book References Robert Schmidt, "Eugene Boudin", vol.III, Paris 1973, #3214, illus. p.235
Incollect Reference Number 234721
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