Winslow Homer: The Pillar of American Realism in Painting

Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), c.1873/76 - Winslow Homer


Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), c.1873/76 - Winslow Homer
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), c.1873/76 - Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer was one of the founding figures of American Realism in Painting.

Winslow Homer was an exceptional American painter whose great talent greatly contributed to the remarkable achievements of late nineteenth century American painting. Alongside Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer played an influential role in shaping American realism - his legacy remains strong today.

Homer began his professional journey as an illustrator, an ability that became integral to his creations over the course of his career. His first significant piece was produced during the American Civil War when he served as correspondent to the Army of the Potomac for Harper's Weekly, honing his ability to produce clear illustrations with precise detail. From then on he maintained an objective style of painting, now rare among artists, yet remains one of Homer's hallmarks.

Homer was not limited to realistic art alone; his talent extended well beyond realism. His paintings can elicit moods, feelings and atmospheres with just as much force as any Abstract Expressionist. From depictions of children sailing aboard their sailboat alongside a fisherman; isolation and vastness of the sea communicated via men staring over a dory into foggy skies; to hunting with its dog silhouetted against mountains - Homer's work resonates emotionally powerfully.


Homer's work stands out by inducing a particular mood in viewers through recognisable imagery. Representation in visual arts has long been practiced; painting typically employs identifiable objects as its subject matter; however, with some notable exceptions like Pre-Raphaelites and Abstract Expressionists painting has attempted to emulate poetry or music, or both simultaneously. Not so with Winslow Homer who excelled at depicting real scenes with such vividness that their significance cannot be overlooked by their viewers.

Today, the beauty of Winslow Homer's paintings can be appreciated in homes around the world, thanks to hand-painted oil on canvas reproductions and giclée fine art prints on canvas. His legacy lives on, bringing the magic of his artistry to a new generation of art enthusiasts.

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