St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Art: Hot ticket

By MARY ANN MARGER, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 24, 2002

Stepping to new perspectives

Eugene Boudin, precursor of the impressionists, was a strange name to me when I set out to review a show of his works at the Museum of Fine Arts in 1977. It was one of my first reviews, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. I got sidetracked with three paintings from 1884, each containing a bright orange or red spot just off center, wondering what to make of them. The review devotes a paragraph to speculating about their purpose.

You look a lot; you learn a lot. Last week I went back to the museum and mused over another work by Boudin, Laundresses on the Shore of La Touques (1883), acquired in 1988 for the permanent collection and on display in the Acheson Gallery. I spotted several small bits of red in that piece. But something else intrigued me more: the clouds. Up close, they are pure strokes of bold brush work, but as I backed away, the clouds took on more and more form. The red? It all but vanished as it blended into the landscape.

Now I understand why his predecessor, Camille Corot, called him "master of the skies."

As you read this, I will have left my staff position at the Times. But I won't have stopped my delight in looking at art, or in seeing works old and new with fresh insight. That's one of the great things about art. The more you look, the more you see.

The sky is not the limit.

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