Sunday, December 29, 2013


Upon learning to know the work of Winslow Homer, I could easily understand why he is considered by many the greatest American painter of the nineteenth century. As I am always short on time, I'll try to keep it brief re what you ought to know about this remarkable artist.

50's, meant is of course the 1850's. Started as a commercial printmaker in Boston and NY, briefly studying oil painting in the spring of 1861.

1860's: was sent to the front as an illustrator/correspondent for Harper's Weekly. The second half of the decade, and basically the entire next one, saw Homer developing his art, and were characterized by artistic experimentation and a preference for incorporating nature and especially natural light in his works. Many of his subjects in this period he found at seaside resorts in MA and NJ, although he also frequented the Adirondacks and the White Mountains. It should be noted however that although he began to establish his reputation as a painter in this timeframe, for most of the time in the 60s and 70s he still needed the design of magazine illustrations as a source of income.

After a brief stint in the early eighties in Cullercoats, a village in northern England, where he was impressed by the strenuous lives led by the fishermen and their womenfolk, he settled for good in Prout's Neck, Maine, where he lived and worked until his death, notwithstanding journeys to the Caribbean. His major works from then on would focus on the struggle of Man against the (marine) elements, and, going beyond that, on the naked force of nature, of the Sea, itself.

I chose three works to get you acquainted with Winslow Homer:

 photo snap_the_whip_homer_zps2bab8c06.jpg

Snap the whip.

 photo three-boys-in-a-dory-winslow-homer_zpsd9fcb908.jpg

Three boys in a dory. Flirting with impressionism here.

 photo EightBellsWinslowHomer_zpsd4ccb351.jpg

Eight bells. My personal favorite. In this magnificent shot - can I call it a shot, Winslow? - the painter captures the fight - and mastery - of man vs. Nature, the raw beauty of the wild sea, and the quality of Light illuminating it all. Brilliant!

Hail to the artist, a...

 photo winslow-homer_zpsa36ceedb.jpg

...Dead White Male.


No comments: