Eugène Boudin (1824-1896) is one of the first French landscape painters to paint in the open air, directly from nature. His numerous beach scenes form a direct link between the carefully observed Naturalism of the early 19th century and the brilliant light and fluid brushwork of late 19th-century Impressionism. His pastels, summary and economic, garnered the splendid eulogy of Baudelaire and Corot who, gazing at his pictures, said to him, "You are the master of the sky."
In 1857 Boudin met the young Monet who spent several months working with Boudin in his studio. The two remained lifelong friends and Monet later paid tribute to Boudin’s early influence. Boudin joined Monet and his young friends in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, but never considered himself a radical or innovator.
The "Plage" (beach) was sold on May the 13th 1980 at the huge Ford's Impressionist sale for $ 480,000. This sale comprised other Impressionists like Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso and Modigliani. The audience was huge : about 1,300 people had gathered in four galleries at Christie's New York. The total of the sale was $18.3 million.