Skip to main content

Winslow Homer collection, 1863

Biographical Note

Winslow Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1836. He was raised in Cambridge, where he developed a love of art and the outdoors. At the age of 19 he began his career as an illustrator, apprenticing at the J.H. Bufford lithographic firm in Boston. He then decided to become a freelance illustrator. In 1859 Homer moved to New York to work for Harper's Weekly, serving as artist-correspondent for the magazine during the Civil War. After taking some art classes at the National Academy of Design, he decided to focus on oil painting. He quickly gained international recognition as a painter, and in 1866 made his first trip to Europe. In 1873 he decided to work in watercolor and found great success in his experimentation with light and color in this medium. In the mid-1880s Homer moved permanently to Prout's Neck, Maine, an isolated area where he built a studio and focused his paintings on man's struggle with nature. Also during the 1880s he worked on a series of etchings based on his paintings. Homer continued to paint for the next twenty years, vacationing summers in places such as the Adirondacks and the Bahamas to capture varied landscapes, until his death in 1910.