Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer
On the Trail, 1892

I picked up a The Watercolors of Windslow Homer by Miles Unger at the library to share with my art therapy client.

What FABULOUS color plates of 140 watercolors!

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was not only one of America's greatest painters in oil but also an unrivaled master of the watercolor medium. Homer, along with artists such as John Singer Sargent and John La Farge, helped usher in the first great age of American watercolor painting, setting the stage for the brilliant creations of such twentieth-century masters as Maurice Prendergast, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, and Edward Hopper.

Homer's greatest contribution to watercolor was to expand the possibilities of the medium, investing fragile works on paper with visual and moral weight. His watercolors not only depict the beauty of the wilderness but also document a fragile ecosystem under threat from human exploitation.

Homer himself seemed to recognize his achievement, writing late in life to his brother Charles, "You will see, in the future I will live by my Watercolors."


  1. I think he was right about his watercolors --and you're right to pick up on it, too, imho. The paintings are wonderful, but the watercolors --the ways he found to handle shade and shadow especially, well, here comes that word, "sublime"!

  2. Hi Buddy,

    Yes, sublime says it all!