Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Winston-Salem, NC



Winslow Homer: Early Prints and Paintings


Sixteen of Winslow Homer's works will be on exhibit at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art from September 24 - November 28, 1999. This exhibit, titled "Winslow Homer: Early Prints and Paintings," explores the close relationship between Homer the illustrator and Homer the painter. Classic Homer paintings such as "Haymaking" and "Peach Blossoms," will be displayed next to illustrations like "Snap the Whip," which he created for Harper's Weekly. The exhibit will reveal the cross influence from one artistic medium to the other, showing how he used the same or similar themes as he moved from media to media. (left: Haymaking, 1864, oil painting, on loan from Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio)

Among the paintings by Winslow Homer (1836-1910) are some of the best-loved images in American art. Homer, Boston born, was initially trained through his apprenticeship with a lithographer. By 1857 Homer was supporting himself almost exclusively as an art illustrator for various magazines. He preferring to work as an independent contractor as opposed to being employed by a single publisher or a publishing house. Homer began to take art classes and study painting after his move to New York City in 1859.

Comparison of Homer's illustration work for the popular press and some of his early paintings reveal cross influences in their narrative and compositional elements from one artistic medium to the other. Homer's paintings soon received critical recognition. Throughout the 1870s his magazine illustrations tended to focus on anecdotal genre images about the lives of common people, often exploring the relationships within a community. Eventually, Homer ceased to need the income from his illustration work, choosing instead to devote himself fully to oil and watercolor painting.

Paintings are on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; and a private collection. The engraving prints are from Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, and originally appeared as illustrations in periodicals, primarily Harper's Weekly.

The exhibit Winslow Homer: Early Prints and Paintings will include:

This exhibit was made possible by a Henry Luce Foundation, American Collections Enhancement (ACE) Initiative grant.

Read more about Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Resource Library Magazine

Article amended 10/10/99

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/26/10

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