A View from the Shore: Winslow Homer’s Impressions of the Coast

October 15–December 17

Exclusively in the online gallery

Gloucester Harbor by Winslow Homer | Mitchell Gallery | St Johns College
Winslow Homer, Gloucester Harbor, 1873, engraving.

Winslow Homer (1836–1910) is regarded by many as the preeminent American painter of the 19th century, well known for his dynamic renditions of scenes from the coast. His rise to prominence was greatly due to his work as an illustrator for the then-booming pictorial press—an outlet that brought Homer’s imagery into hundreds of thousands of homes on a nearly weekly basis. During his tenure with such publications as Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and Harper’s Weekly, Homer created more than 200 illustrations. His career as an illustrator began in 1857 and ended in 1875, at which point he dedicated himself solely to painting. Homer’s images were admired early for their engaging style and dynamic composition.

Following a trip to Europe, illustrated in the double-spread impression Homeward Bound (1867), Homer’s compositions for the press became noticeably more developed and sophisticated. Impressions including Gloucester Harbor (1873), Sea Side Sketches—A Clam-Bake (1873), and Seesaw-Gloucester, Massachusetts (1874) reflect a mature understanding and relationship to the engraving process. Though he did not participate in the printing of the block, Homer did have approval over the interpretation of his imagery and only used specific engravers for his impressions, maintaining his involvement in the process.

The prints on display are selected from the original newspaper editions. The pictorial press enlisted an army of artists, engravers, platemakers, and printers to publish these works. While it is the draftsmen we focus on, the unnamed craftsmen who engraved and printed these images deserve recognition for bringing these mass-produced publications into the homes of 19th-century families.

See the online gallery

This exhibition is organized by Syracuse University Art Museum and curated by Andrew Saluti.

We thank the following for their continuous funding and support: Anne Arundel County, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, The Helena Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, the John and Hilda Moore Fund, the Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund.

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Programs and Events

All exhibitions and most programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Links to events will be posted on this page prior to the event.

October 15: Online opening of exhibition
A View from the Shore: Winslow Homer’s Impressions of the Coast

October 15–December 17: Online Lecture
“Winslow Homer: Printer and Painter” by Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg.
Prerecorded lecture. Premieres October 15, available through December 17.

October 20: Art Express, 12:15–12:45 p.m. ET
Lunchtime tour with Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg. Zoom link coming soon.

November 3: Discussion, 5:30 p.m. ET
“Illustrator to Artist: Winslow Homer and the Public” with American art scholar Wilford Scott. Zoom link coming soon.

November 14: Live-stream lecture by exhibition curator Andrew Saluti, 3 p.m. ET
This lecture, followed by a Q&A period, will provide insights into Homer’s career as an engraver and its importance in American art history.

December 9:  Book Club, 2:30–4:30 p.m. ET
Online tour of the exhibition, followed by discussion of Winslow Homer in Gloucester by D. Scott Atkinson and Jochen Wierich. Please contact the Mitchell Gallery for this out-of-print book. Discussion moderated by the author Jochen Wierich. Registration required. Online registration coming soon.