Eugène Boudin was born in Normandy in 1824. He spent his childhood on the sea, working as the cabin boy on his father’s cargo ship. This early exposure to the sea and skies of the French Coast was to form his primary focus as a painter later in life. It was Boudin who would form the all important link between traditional French landscape and the start of the Impressionist movement. His early career consisted predominantly of painting outdoor sketches in the summer, which he would then complete in his studio over the winter months. During this period he also painted genre scenes and still life but it was the vast skies and seas of the Normandy Coast that he always returned to. In 1862 he began to paint the crowds of fashionable tourists who flocked to the coast from Paris on summer weekends. To paint people on a beach, smartly dressed and enjoying themselves was daringly modern. The Impressionists developed this subject in the coming decades, but it marked Boudin out as distinctly avant-garde. By the middle of the 1850s he recognized the ‘falseness’ of painting landscapes from memory and bean to paint almost exclusively en plein air a practice that was to be so influential on the Impressionists. The immediacy of the work Boudin painted outdoors and the attention paid to the changing atmosphere had a particular effect on the young Claude Monet, who first worked alongside him in 1856. He said, ‘…it was as if aveil had been torn from my eyes. I had understood, had grasped what painting could be. Boudin’s absorption of his work, and his independence, were enough to decide the entire future and development of my painting.'