The Port of Rotterdam, 1880
oil on canvas
78.2 x 110.2 cm
Bequest of Margaret Southam Brinckman, Ottawa, 1977, in memory of her father Wilson Mills Southam
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18898)
Boudin was born into a seafaring family from Honfleur, and maritime life, primarily along the Normandy coast, remained close to his heart. While his primary subject was the sea, his paintings are not romanticized images of sea battles or storm-tossed ships on open waters. Instead, he depicts the everyday activities of naval commerce and fashionable beach resorts with a calm and studied concern for detail and lighting conditions. The Impressionist painter Claude Monet later claimed that in watching Boudin, it was "as if a veil had been torn from my eyes."