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Winslow Homer the Illustrator: His Wood Engravings, 1857-1888
The Muscarelle Museum of Art will open Winslow Homer the Illustrator: His Wood Engravings, 1857-1888 this January. Running from January 25 to March 16, 2003 this exhibition will feature a workshop on woodcarving Thursday, January 30, 2003 and a gallery talk Thursday, February 27, 2003.
This exhibition of wood engravings traces a 30-year period in the life of Winslow Homer (1836-1910), one of America's greatest artists. The 145 engravings in the exhibition provide an opportunity to observe the growth of Homer from a self-taught popular illustrator of 1858 to a deeply moving major artist of 1870s. (right: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Thanksgiving in Camp, 1882, wood engraving, from the exhibition Winslow Homer the Illustrator from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, Florida)
As a precocious 21-year-old, Homer drew scenes of the everyday life of young people picnicking, dancing, and celebrating the winter holidays. His work matured during the: Civil War as he recorded the poignant scenes of army and civilian life during the conflict. After the war's end Homer traveled to Europe and his engravings illustrated Parisian balls and art students in the Louvre. Finally, he shows us his voyage home and the landscapes, galas, and children at play representing the joyous aspects of middle-class life in the United States in the 1870s and the 1880s.
Homer arrived in New York City at the advent of the illustrated
newspaper and magazine. The illustrations that accompanied the text were
made from engraved blocks of wood on which a picture had been drawn. The
hardwood block was strong enough to withstand tens of thousands of printings,
a trait that was crucial for the publication of magazines with a national
circulation. The publishers of Harper's and other magazines apparently
had little incentive to preserve Homer's drawings themselves for as soon
as one block was printed it would be planed down and
reused. Few were kept, anymore than people keep weekly magazines today, much less the plates for an illustration.
Winslow Homer was one of the most prolific artists of his day. Working as an illustrator from 1857 to 1888, he completed 288 different images. After 1863 he also worked in oils and watercolors, both of which he developed more fully after 1873 when he largely abandoned his role as illustrator. His engravings were done during one of the most tumultuous and fascinating periods of American history -- the period just before, during, and after the Civil War. His wood engravings reflect the confidence and spirit of the American people, particularly the middle-class readers of popular magazines. (right: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Homeward-Bound, 1867, wood engraving, from the exhibition Winslow Homer the Illustrator from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, Florida)
A member's preview will be held at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at 5:30 until 7 p.m. on Friday, January 24 2003. Brian Kreydatus, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The College of William and Mary, will demonstrate the art of wood engraving at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30, 2003. Alan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark professor of Art and Art History at The College of William and Mary, will present a lecture on the art of Winslow Homer at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2003. Decent led tours will be held every Sunday starting at 2 p.m.
The exhibition was organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, Florida. The exhibition tour was developed by Smith Kramer; Inc.
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Muscarelle Museum of Art / College of William and Mary in Resource Library Magazine.
Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.
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