American Artist Winslow Homer

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     Winslow Homer born February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910. Homer, who was mostly self taught is considered one of the foremost artists of 19th century America .Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1836, Homer was the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer and Henrietta Benson Homer, both New Englanders. His mother was an amateur watercolorist and Homer’s first teacher, she and her son had a close relationship throughout their lives. His father was a  restless businessman who was always looking to “make a killing”,so was not around much as he grew. He had left his family to seek a fortune in the California gold rush. When that failed, off  to Europe to raise capital for other get-rich-quick schemes that didn’t materialize.
    Homer graduated high school and immediately entered an  apprenticeship with a Boston commercial lithographer at the age of 19, where He worked repetitively on sheet music covers and other commercial work. then at age 23 , his freelance career was underway and he moved to New York city. He turned down an offer to join the staff of Harper's Weekly, but joined them as a Freelance Illustrator & correspondent. “From the time I took my nose off that lithographic stone”, Homer later stated, “I have had no master, and never shall have any.” Homer’s career as an illustrator lasted nearly twenty years.  His early works, mostly commercial engravings of urban and country social scenes, are characterized by clean outlines, simplified forms, dramatic contrast of light and dark, and lively figure groupings — qualities that remained important throughout his career. Unlike many artists who were well-known for working in only one art medium, Winslow Homer was prominent in a variety of art media. In1863 he attended classes at the National Academy of Design, and studied briefly with Frédéric Rondel, who taught him the basics of painting.From 1861–1865,Harper's sent Homer to the front lines of the American Civil War where he sketched battle scenes and camp life,Homer finally traveled to Paris, France in 1867 where he remained for a year.Homer painted about a dozen small paintings during the stay. In 1875, Homer quit working as a commercial illustrator and vowed to survive on his paintings and watercolors alone. He exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia,The Boston Art Club and became a member of " The Tile Club"(a group of artists and writers who met frequently to exchange ideas and organize outings for painting). Homer started painting with watercolors on a regular basis in 1873 during a summer stay in Gloucester, Massachusetts.Homer spent two years (1881 – 1882) in the English coastal villages of Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear. In 1883, Homer back in the U.S. moved to Prouts Neck, Maine (in Scarborough) and lived at his family’s estate in the remodeled carriage house just seventy-five feet from the ocean. Here for  the rest of the mid-1880s, Homer painted many of his monumental sea scenes. Homer died in his Maine Studio on September 29,1910.

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