United States • 1836−1910
Winslow Homer (eng. Winslow Homer February 24, 1836, Boston, USA – September 29, 1910, Prouts NEK, USA) is an American artist who received this recognition only after his death. Homer had no formal education, but took private lessons in painting and studied at the National Academy of design. Began his artistic career with work in lithography company, then for many years worked with the magazine Harper's Weekly as an Illustrator. At the end of life, being already a famous artist, Homer is removed from the people and fully dedicates himself to the work.

Features of the artist Winslow Homer: the bulk of his works are realistic landscapes and genre scenes, with a special love the artist felt for the pictures. For a while he lives in the English fishing village, and the last years of his life spent in his Studio by the sea.

Famous paintings of Winslow Homer: "Fog's coming", "The Gulf stream", "Prisoners from the front", "Skating in Central Park", "Snap of the whip (Play)".

"If half a century ago, you were a representative of the American middle class, in your house was a couple of reproductions of van Gogh and a couple of reproductions of Winslow Homer"- these words of Peter wood, Professor Emeritus of history at Duke University, are an excellent illustration to display the relationship of Americans to the Homer, which put on a par with the great Dutchman, and still continue to be considered in a sense a national treasure.

Homer was one of her favorite artists Ernest Hemingway. In the Preface to the novel "farewell to arms", he says, if he wants to write a novel, which takes place in the Bahamas, he would like to see illustrations for this book did Winslow Homer (Winslow Homer).

Early years and work with Illustrator

In the late XVIII – early XIX century, during the formation of American fine art and the emergence of private art schools, the bulk of artists in the United States was a talented self-taught Amateurs mainly painted landscapes and portraits in a realistic style. These, of course, can be attributed to Homer, which received first painting lessons from his own mother of Henrietta Benson Homer (she was an artist-lover, who painted watercolors, and largely thanks to her Winslow Homer in his school days begins to draw). Professional painters of America gave preference to Patriotic paintings and portraits of political figures.

Homer began his career in art, becoming an apprentice at a lithographic company John Buford in Boston. In the late 50's he began working for Harper's Weekly, and this cooperation continues after the artist's move to new York. At first, the work of Homer was to copy pictures. The fact that the time to transfer a photograph to a newspaper or magazine page, you had to turn it into engraving. This photo was printed on the plate, the lithographer did her figure, which is then transferred in a mirror image on a large wooden block. And with the help of this huge "stamp" engraving was printed in the newspaper.

The work of Homer has left little room for imagination and creativity, since the main objective was how we can more accurately transfer details from photo to drawing. Most of these engravings were published even without mentioning the name of Homer. Over time, Harper's starts to expand the responsibilities of the artist, it is sent to different events that he does sketches from nature. For example, the edition publishes several drawings made by Homer on the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. But even though it was their own work of Homer, they, nevertheless, did not always sign his name in the journal. It is often represented just as a "special artist" (by analogy with the special correspondent). The same designation was used for other artists, collaborated with the magazine, so it's pretty hard to determine which illustration belongs to Homer, especially controversial things relating to his early years at the magazine. Some of the works of Homer, you can see his autograph in the corner, others were signed by his name, and some attributed to him due to the recognizable style of drawings.

Homer continues to work as an Illustrator until 1875, although at that time he had already become a well-known U.S. artist, whose paintings sold well. He has not received professional art education, but in the late 50's-early 60's attended classes at the National Academy of design (where in 1860 was exhibited his popular at that time watercolor "Skating in Central Park") and took lessons in painting from Frederic Rondel and Thomas Sayre Cummings. Homer wanted to go to Europe to continue her education, but the implementation of these plans was prevented by the Civil war.

Despite the fame, Homer is in no hurry to deprive themselves of a source of permanent income. Financial issues were particularly concerned about the artist, since his father spent all the money during the "gold rush" money in recent years lived at the expense of Homer and his two brothers.

The Sea Winslow Homer

Many of the characters in the paintings of Homer were real-life people he's portrayed either from nature or from memory. Emocionalna and expressive painting "Low tide" (1886) was written after seeing a scene of rescue of two careless bathers. One of his friends, General Barlow, with whom the artist met during the Civil war, he was immortalized in the famous painting "Prisoners from the front" (1866). Another friend of Homer, an artist and a passionate lover of fishing Eliphalet Terry became the hero of the picture "Fish fish" (Playing a fish, 1875-1895).

One of the main themes in his work, Homer addressed most, you can even say, one of the main protagonists in his paintings was the sea. Rocky shores, fishing boats, breathtaking sunsets, the eternal duality of the sea, is both a supporter and enemy, the wildness of the elements and the insignificance of man in front of her face – it's all there in the paintings of Homer. His sitters, whom the artist depicted Maritime scenes, sometimes he really was immersed in water to reliably portray clinging to the body of the wet clothes.

The Maritime theme is becoming predominant in the works of Homer in the last years of his life. He travels frequently but always returns to his Studio in Prouts Neck (Maine), where he works in solitude. In this period, the artist continually refines old paintings, themes of his new works, especially after the death of the artist's father in 1898, becoming a bit of drama, full of loneliness, despair, sadness and reminders of the inevitability of approaching death. It is extremely disturbing work, "the Mist is coming" (1885), and emotional picture "Life line" (1884), depicting the rescue of the women of the shipwreck and the famous painting "the Gulf stream" (1889), where the drifting boat surrounded by sharks.

In 1880-e years, in a period of creative decline in the character of Homer begins to appear unsociable, he deliberately avoids the company of people. In the end, the artist suddenly went to England, where inspiringly depicts scenes from the life of fishing villages, admiring the resilience of fishers and courage of their women. In this period begins the rise of the artistic career Homer, but the need for privacy is also growing every year. In one of his last works, "The Fox hunt" (1893), he even refuses to images of people on canvas.

The artist died in 1910 in his Studio in Prouts Neck. But already in 1890-th years, Homer received wide recognition and his works are sold for huge amounts of money, the news of his passing has gone almost entirely unnoticed, a real recognition of his artistic achievement came only after his death. In the beginning of XXI century art Museum Portland bought the house and Studio of Homer in Prouts Neck and restored it. The house was opened to the public in 2012.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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