Winslow Homer is an outstanding American painter and graphic artist of the second half of the 19th century, a recognized master of sea, rural, mountain landscapes and genre genres. Winslow Homer is one of the founders of realistic visual arts in the United States. He painted in oils and watercolors, illustrated books and created charming woodcuts.
Winslow Homer did not have an academic art education, but had a huge impact on the development of American painting in the twentieth century. Reproductions of his paintings often decorate the interior of the homes of Americans in love with art. The artist’s personal life is shrouded in mystery, he was never married and devoted himself entirely to his beloved work.
Biography of Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer was born on February 24, 1836 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of a small businessman. The love for art was instilled in her son by his mother, who painted watercolors all her life at an amateur level.
Winslow graduated from the local elementary school without much success and became seriously interested in drawing. Unfortunately, the family did not have the means to continue teaching the teenager. The father of the future artist constantly got involved in various adventures, and then completely abandoned the business and left for California, where the famous gold rush began.
At the age of 18, Homer decided to take a job at the well-known Boston company J. H. Bufford’s. Here he studied the art of creating lithography and woodcuts, and also developed drawing skills by completing commercial orders.
In 1859, Winslow moved to New York, where he began working as a freelance illustrator for various magazines.
During those years in the United States, the demand for color periodicals was growing rapidly, which allowed the young man to earn his living. But Homer dreamed of becoming an artist, so he enthusiastically took up self-education. He later began attending classes at the National Academy of Design and occasionally took private lessons from experienced artists.
In 1861, the Civil War broke out in the United States and Homer was sent to the active army as a war painter-chronicler. Numerous sketches later formed the basis for his military-themed paintings. A year later, the artist managed to return to New York to the peaceful work of an illustrator. Based on the material collected during the war, the painter created a number of works that were very popular with the public.
In 1866, at the Paris World Exhibition, it was decided to make a separate exhibition dedicated to the American Civil War. Among the works selected for her were paintings by Homer. The artist had a unique opportunity to travel to France, which he did not fail to take advantage of.
In those years, Paris was the center of world painting, a new bright direction in art was formed there impressionism. But Homer was closer in spirit to the works of the artists of the Barbizon school, especially the rural landscapes and scenes of the peasant life of Jean-Francois Millet.
Upon his return from France, Homer enthusiastically paints pictures of everyday life and landscape genres.
In 1875 he quit his job as an illustrator to devote himself entirely to painting. The artist increasingly prefers watercolors and gradually becomes an introverted hermit.
A trip to England in 1881-1882 had a strong impact on the artist’s work. Two years of living in a small seaside village influenced the spiritual world of the master. After that, Homer’s style changed forever. He refuses to portray idyllic scenes of peasant life and creates his best works with dramatic plots and courageous heroes.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, Winslow Homer finally became a recognized master of painting. For the last 10 years of his life, he no longer experiences financial difficulties and works for his own pleasure.
On September 29, 1910, Winslow Homer died at his oceanfront country home in Maine. Currently, his studio has been awarded the status of a US National Historic Landmark.
Winslow Homer is an iconic figure in American painting.
He left many masterpieces to descendants and forever entered the history of world culture.