Winslow Homer (1836 -1910)
A Sick Chicken, 1874
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite, 9.75 x 7.75 in.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Shown in the Water Color Society exhibition of 1875, this painting is a testament to Homer's talent in a medium other than oils and engravings. The delicate rendering and understated colors show the tenderness of the girl in caring for her ailing chick.  She stands in front of a whitewashed stone farmhouse reminiscent of Hurley's Dutch colonial origins.

Recent research has identified the precise location in Hurley of this painting.  The front porch matches the porch of a large frame-and-stone house that stood on Hurley Mountain Road on a site just south of the old Wynkoop homestead.   All that remains is a pile of irregular limestone blocks, a well, and a pair of large black walnut trees.  Fortunately, we have photographs from early 20th century that enabled us to make this exciting connection with Homer.


ca.1900.  Dubbed by locals "the old Newkirk House", this sprawling stone and frame house was located on Hurley Mountain Road south of Wynkoop Road not far from the George Wynkoop home where Homer sketched The Family Record. Its front porch likely formed the backdrop for Homer's watercolor The Sick Chicken at left.  The similarity is striking, although from this angle, the well house obscures part of the porch. There is even a black chicken marching across the lawn, just as there is in the painting!  It was owned or at least occupied by Dr. Peter Crispell, Jr. in Homer's time. The house burned in 1947 and the Dutch barns by arson in the 1960s.   (Courtesy of Viola Opdahl)


The vacant house site where the "Newkirk House" used to stand.  This land was part of the Henry Paul Jr. farm until it was recently purchased by the Farm Hub who has revived the old well with a small well house and hand pump.  A small pile of limestone rubble lies near the far walnut tree -- debris left from the house fire in 1947.