Although Homer excelled above all as a watercolorist, his oils and watercolors alike are characterized by directness, realism, objectivity, and splendid color. His powerful and dramatic interpretations of the sea in watercolor have never been surpassed and hold a unique place in American art. They are in leading museums throughout the United States. Characteristic watercolors are Breaking Storm and Maine Coast (both: Art Inst. of Chicago) and The Hurricane (Metropolitan Mus.). Characteristic oils include The Gulf Stream (1899) and Moonlight—Wood's Island Light (both: Metropolitan Mus.) and Eight Bells (1886; Addison Gall., Andover, Mass.).
See biographies by P. C. Beam (1966), J. Wilmerding (1972), and M. Judge (1986); studies by L. Goodrich (1968 and 1972); B. Gelman, ed., The Wood Engravings of Winslow Homer (1969); studies of his watercolors by D. Hoopes (1969), P. C. Beam (1983), H. A. Cooper (1987), M. Unger (2001), and R. C. Griffin (2006).
(born Feb. 24, 1836, Boston, Mass., U.S.—died Sept. 29, 1910, Prouts Neck, Maine) U.S. painter. He served an apprenticeship with a Boston lithographer, then became a freelance illustrator in New York City. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1860 and was elected a member in 1865. During a stay in France in 1866, he was attracted to French naturalism and Japanese prints, but they had little effect on his generally bright and happy work. He became a master of watercolour and his ability as an oil painter matured; he focused increasingly on solitary, withdrawn figures. He spent 1881–82 in the English village of Tynemouth, on the North Sea, where the coastal atmosphere, the sea, and the stoic people are the subjects of some of his most powerful images. In 1883 he moved permanently to Prouts Neck, and his dominant theme became the sea and the endless struggle against an uncaring nature. In his later years he continued to paint vigorously and in near-total isolation. Though he was recognized in his lifetime as a leading U.S. painter, appreciation of his enormous achievement came only after his death.
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