Art Wednesday: Winslow Homer

Breezing up - A father and his three sons is one of his best known art works

To those who may be new to my blog, each Wednesday I profile a different artist - it maybe someone well known or someone lost in time, the art may be worth millions or done just for fun.  It is an opportunity to share artworks that I love or works that are just plain fun.   I always look forward to hearing your comments regarding the art I select - and I am never offended if you don't like the ones I have profiled as we all have different tastes.

Artist: Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
Born: USA
Landscape painter, best known for his nautical works

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1836, Homer was the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer and Henrietta Benson Homer, both from long lines of New Englanders. His mother was a gifted amateur watercolorist and Homer's first teacher, and she and her son had a close relationship throughout their lives. Homer took on many of her traits, including her quiet, strong-willed, terse, sociable nature; her dry sense of humor; and her artistic talent. Homer had a happy childhood, growing up mostly in then rural Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was an average student, but his art talent was evident in his early years. (source Wikipedia)

1857 Homer becomes a freelance illustrator
1859 moves to New York City and attends drawing classes at the National Academy of Design
1861 Sent to front as an artist-correspondent at the start of the Civil War
1863 Debuts as professional painter at the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition
1866 Sails for France for ten months and exhibits two paintings at the Universal Exposition in Paris
1873 Begins first series of watercolors in Gloucester, Massachusetts
1875 Gives up illustration and relies on sale of watercolors for income
1881 Spends twenty months in the fishing village of Cullercoats, England, on the North Sea
1882 Returns to New York;  continues working on English subjects
1883 Settles permanently at Prouts' Neck, Maine
1900 Awarded gold medal at the Paris Exposition
1910 Dies in his Prout's Neck studio at age 74 (source: National Galley of Art, Washington)

Three boys in a Dory with lobster pots
(this is one of my favourites - there is something very delicate and gentle about this watercolour)
The morning bell
In the mid-1890s, Homer began a series of paintings showing only water, coast, and sky. Prouts Neck, Maine, was one of the most frequently represented sites in these works.
Undertow- a painting aiming to illustrate the dramatic confrontation of humankind and nature
The lifeline
This painting was an immediate success, however Homer's work held little commercial appeal. Its striking composition and strong dramatic mood did not match the prevailing aesthetic taste. After viewing Homer's work in a National Academy exhibition, one critic remarked that his paintings had a "rude vigor and grim force..."
By the shore
Crossing the pasture
On the hill
On the trail
 Native huts
To escape the harsh Maine winters, Homer began traveling in 1884 to the tropics (Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Bermuda) where, in response to the extraordinary light and color, he created dazzling watercolors distinguished by their spontaneity, freshness, and informal compositions. Homer traveled to Nassau at the request of Century Magazine, which commissioned illustrations for an article on the popular tourist destination. There Homer painted more than thirty watercolors whose subjects are representative of the scenery of the island and lives of its citizens.
On the stiles
The marks on the blackboard puzzled scholars for many years. They now have been identified as belonging to a method of drawing instruction popular in American schools in the 1870's. In their earliest lessons, young children were taught to draw by forming simple combinations of lines, as seen on the blackboard here. Rather than being a polite accomplishment, drawing was viewed as having a practical application, playing a valuable role in industrial design. Homer playfully signed the blackboard in its lower-right corner as though with chalk.
The new novel
 The foghorn
A girl in a hammock
Two are company, three are none - engraving by Homer that appeared in the 1872 Harper Weekly. This is just one example of the engravings done by Homer.

A photo of Winslow Homer

This is for my brother who suggested I wrote about Winslow Homer  - a very good choice.



  1. Oh I am so glad you do this! I love art history - I studied a bit of it in college and just love to learn about new artists I haven't heard of. Thanks for sharing!


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