Winslow Homer

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About this artist

One of the greatest of American artists, Winslow Homer was outstanding as both a figure and landscape painter and as a watercolorist. He was a descendant of generations of New Englanders. He apprenticed in Bufford’s Lithography Shop in Boston and after 1859 worked as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly in New York. The strength of his illustrations, especially his Civil War subjects, first established his reputation. He was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1864 at the age of twenty-eight and an academician the following year. After the Civil War he concentrated on oil painting. In 1866-67 he lived in Paris. He took up watercolor painting in 1873 and became an undisputed master of the medium.

In 1881 Homer abandoned his familiar subject matter of children and country scenes and moved to the fishing village of Cullercoats in England, where he began to paint the heroic life of the fisherfolk in their battle with the sea. He continued this subject matter after his return to the United States in late 1882 and his permanent move to isolated Prout’s Neck, Maine. He traveled to the Adirondacks and the Bahamas for recreation and subjects. During the 1890s his chief subject was the powerful sea itself After late 1905 illness prevented Homer from painting, but near the end of his life he regained his strength and inspiration and painted important works.

William Howe Downes, The Life and Works of Winslow Homer (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911), with lists of paintings exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and in collection of Thomas B. Clarke, bibliography § Lloyd Goodrich, Winslow Homer (New York: Macmillan for Whitney Museum of American Art, 1944), with "Recollections of an Intimate Friendship," by John W. Beatty, bibliography, chronology § Albert Ten Eyck Gardner, Winslow Homer -- American Artist: His World and Work (New York: Potter, 1961), with bibliography, chronology, list of collections § Philip C. Beam, Winslow Homer at Prout’s Neck (Boston: Little, Brown, 1966), with bibliography § Melinda Dempster Davis, Winslow Homer: An Annotated Bibliography of Periodical Literature (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1975), with documentation to 1973, list of reproductions of works.