Musée Eugène Boudin – a gem in Honfleur

I’ve been to Honfleur umpteen times. Weekends, day trips, long trips, before baby, after baby. But, the focus had always been food. And rightly so.

This time, however, I visited the Musée Eugène Boudin in the heart of Honfleur. And OH my goodness! I can’t believe I waited this long!!!

The museum boasts of a selective collection of preImpressionist painting. Let me remind you here that Eugène Boudin is the forgotten, uncredited Father of Impressionism. The man who, they say, officially introduced the concept of painting outdoors, or en plain air, to capture light as it falls and flows.

An artist we should be celebrating more of.

The birth of the Museum

Boudin and his friend Jean Archer had a shop in Le Havre, where they stocked stationery and framed pictures. A lot of their customers were full time artists – painters, writers, musicians.

They influenced Boudin to try his hand at painting. Later, through his shop and otherwise, he would meet Jean-François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Johan Jongkind, Alexandre Dubourg, Charles-François Daubigny, Constant Troyon, Isabey, Claude Monet and many such artists of the time.

Eventually, in their turn, Boudin and Alexandre Dubourg, his close friend and peer, both sons of Honfleur, encouraged younger artists (not necessarily age related) to showcase more of their works.

Thus was born this museum.

Not just to spread the love of art but also to encourage artists to do more and to be seen more.

Cals, Jongkind, Monet, Courbet, Pécrus, Mozin and ofcourse Dubourg and Boudin are represented here.

Eugène Boudin
Les régates à Anvers (Sailing race in Anvers) 1871

Karl Daubigny
Coucher de Soleil à Villerville (Sunset at Villerville)

The Daubigny was donated by the James de Roany family in 2016. It was restored in 2019 FRAR Normandy ( Fonds Regional d’aide à la restauration).

Émile Renouf

Alexandre Dubourg
Jeune paysanne au repos (Peasant girl taking a break)

The Bell tower of the Church of St. Catherine

Le Clocher de l’église Sainte-Catherine was donated to the museum in 1964 by Michel Monet – Claude Monet’s son. In 2013, they discovered that the painting was actually made by Eugene Boudin.

Honfleur perd un tableau de Monet et gagne un Boudin

Honfleur lost an artwork by Monet but gained a Boudin instead

Adolphe MARAIS
Le retour du troupeau (The return of the Herd) 1899

André Hambourg captures the dancing boats, lanterns, flags, and the festive spirit of the evening at the Vieux Bassin (old port) in Honfleur (below).

André Hambourg
Soir de fete, les lampions (Festive night, lanterns) 1961

View of the Normandy Bridge and Honfleur’s roofs from the museum’s window
Musée Eugène Boudin as I was leaving

Further reading

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