Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great American Artists - Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer was born February 24, 1836 in Boston Massachusetts. He was a great American artist known for his landscapes, particularly those featuring the sea. He did not, however, have his artistic start as a painter. Rather, he began as a commercial lithographer tediously replicating the details of a photograph in a drawing. He was often left unacknowledged for his work published by Harper’s Weekly. At the Civil War front in the Union Camp of Major General George McClellan, Homer honed his skills as an illustrator, depicting scenes from the camp and battle scenes. While these illustrations did not receive much recognition, they were the bridge to Homer becoming a famous painter. In 1867 Homer travelled to France and began to broaden his artistic abilities experimenting with watercolor and oils. A few short years later, his painting Snap the Whip was shown and recognized at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia along with another painting, Breezing Up, which later became one of Homer’s most notable works. Homer eventually returned to the United States and settled in Maine in the early part of the 1880’s. Here, his work was focused on the sea and marine life. While he found inspiration in short trips to other states such as Florida and New York, Homer lived out his days enjoying comfortable financial circumstances and the beauty of the Maine coast. He died at the age of 74 in his studio in Prout’s Neck.

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