Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24

Artist Winslow Homer was born on February 24, 1836, in Boston. As a youth he was apprenticed as an illustrator and, in the 1850s and’60s, he became a major contributor to Harper’s Weekly, which sent him to the front during the Civil War, where he famously depicted a Union sharp-shooter. He was an oil painter for much of his life, acclaimed for maritime scenes such as “Breezing Up” (1876), when, suddenly in 1873, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he took up watercolor, which had become an accepted artistic medium. He was drawn to the stark but beautiful coastline of Maine, where he settled in 1883, but escaped winters by traveling to Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas and Bermuda. In those locations he captured dazzling tropical color and light in watercolors marked by spontaneous freshness, immediacy and unrivaled beauty. Pictured: “Fishing Boats, Key West” (1903), in which positive white spaces are unpainted.

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