A View of the Artist

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) is one of the most influential American artists of the late 19th century.  He started his career during a defining era of American art when the country was trying to distinguish itself from the European traditions. Homer began as an illustrator and engraver and in the 1870s made a gradual transition to solely painting.  An almost entirely self-taught artist, Homer’s style was unique and evolved as he did, garnering him much attention and praise in his own lifetime.

During his career, he traveled many times to the Catskills, Maine, and upstate New York. The first documented time that Homer came to Hurley was in the summer of 1871 with fellow artist Enoch Wood Perry, but he may have visited numerous summers between 1870 and 1877.  The scenic and rural town of Hurley, New York, was a significant influence on his work and inspired him during the transition from life as an illustrator to that of a painter.  Throughout his paintings from the 1870s, familiar aspects of Hurley can be seen in landscapes, figures, architecture, and tone.

View a Timeline of Works in this Exhibition

View a Winslow Homer Biographical Timeline

Joseph E. Baker, American, 1837-1914
Graphite on paper.
Portrait of Winslow Homer at age 21 made from life in Boston, 1857.
Collection of Mrs. Joseph De Camp

Oliver Ingraham Lay,  American, 1845-1890
Oil on canvas,
Portrait of Winslow Homer at age 29 (1865)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

William Rudolph O'Donovan,
American, 1844-1920
Bust of Winslow Homer at age 40 (plaster model made in 1876).
Bronze cast c.1911, Brooklyn Museum

Bust of Homer as he looked when  he was still making visits to Hurley.

Napoleon Sarony, American photographer, 1821-1896.
Portrait of Winslow Homer at age 44 (1880), taken in New York.
albumen print, 5-7/8 x 4-1/4 in
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine

Photograph, albumen print, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, New Brunswick, Maine.
Winslow Homer around age 64 with "The Gulf Stream" in his studio at Prouts Neck (ca.1900).