Fishermen in the evening light, undated
Together with the Englishwoman Sarah Louise Kilpack, the Frenchwoman Louise Herminie Gudin is one of the few female marine painters of the 19th century still known today. Trained by her father Théodore Gudin (1802-1880), she lived and worked in Paris, exhibiting at the Salon there in 1849, 1850 and 1853. Having moved to Belgium after her marriage, she continued to sign her paintings with her maiden name until around 1864 and only thereafter with “Mme Fauchier”.
In contrast to the dramatically charged seascapes and navy paintings with which her father had become famous, she concentrated on small, calm, and balanced seascapes and harbour views. Stylistically, she borrows from her father‘s model – her paintings are executed with similar fine precision and romantic colouring.
This painting captures an everyday scene on a coast or river. In warm brown-orange tones, it brings a fishing boat with two red-accentuated fishermen figures into focus. Back on shore after fishing, they have unrigged the sails and instead attached the nets to the mast to dry. In the foreground, props such as an anchor and baskets for the catch indicate the fishing trade. Gudin bathes the scene in a shimmering pearlescent light, which is reflected effectively in the water and beach section and is reminiscent of her father‘s skilful use of light. The atmospheric light, the stillness and timelessness of the portrayed natural moment are typical of the romantically influenced marine painting of the mid-19th century, which saw man and nature as a unity and ideally exalted the daily work of the fishermen.