Blanchisseuses près d’un ruisseau (1885-1890)

Boudin, Eugène (1824-1898)

Blanchisseuses près d’un ruisseau (Laundresses by a Stream)
Oil on wood, 17.8 x 22.9 cm
National GalleryLondon

Boudin is most famous for his scenes of well-to-do holidaymakers on the beaches of the fashionable Normandy resorts of Trouville and Deauville. But from the late 1860s he began to turn his attention to the daily life of the inhabitants of the northern French coast. In all, he painted around 100 paintings that focus on laundresses. The subject was a perfect one for him, as it offered an opportunity to combine people, landscape and water.

The women here occupy a different world to the fashionable seasonal visitors on Trouville beach. They are hard at work washing their linen in the river Touques, just inland from the resort. Although they are viewed from a closer vantage point than most of the figures in Boudin’s beach scenes, like them they remain anonymous and lack individual facial features. A few broad strokes of paint capture the women’s movements as they rinse, rub and scrub the garments before hanging them out to dry on the fence behind them. (NG)

See also:

• Trouville-sur-Mer (France)