Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Life, from the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie


Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Life,
from the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie
June 6–August 24, 2014

Explore rarely seen works by famed landscape painter Winslow Homer, considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America. The exhibition features over 21 original works including oil paintings and delicate watercolors collected by Bartlett Arkell, the founder and first president of the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, New York, and the Beech-Nut Company. The exhibition also contains two works now in other collections, including a painting owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Housed at The Arkell, this marks the first time this exceptional group of Homer paintings will be displayed as a complete collection.

The exhibition includes examples from all phases of Homer's career, representing work from his earliest known painting of a young boy feeding chickens to the famous painting Watching the Breakers created in 1896. The paintings were acquired by Bartlett Arkell in the 1930s and '40s working with Macbeth Gallery in New York City.

Winslow Homer (1836–1910) is regarded by many as the greatest American painter of the nineteenth century. He was born in Boston and began his career as a commercial printmaker. Essentially self taught, he had no formal training as an artist. During the Civil War, he worked as an correspondent for Harper’s Weekly illustrating scenes of everyday life in Union Army camps. As with other artists of that time, he soon traveled to Paris where he observed the painting techniques of his peers. Returning home after only one year, he began to achieve amazing results experimenting with color and light.

Homer had a consistent reputation and was widely celebrated throughout his life.  He is most known for the works created late in his career of the New England coast focusing on timeless American themes of man versus nature and man’s place in the natural world. These works are considered some of his most famous. Homer also painted in other regions including the Adirondacks, Canada, Florida, and the Caribbean.

An exhibition catalog provides new information on Homer including data obtained from the recent examination of the works completed at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts, and a review of Bartlett Arkell’s correspondence records housed at the Archives of American Art. Details found on the works, such as marks, inscriptions, and the use of brush strokes, will make the world look at the artist in a very different way. Written by Homer scholars under the direction of the Arkell Museum, the catalog will be available when the exhibition opens at Fenimore Art Museum in June, providing extensive information on the history of each work.

The exhibition was organized by the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie.

This fall, the exhibition will be on display at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie from September 2, 2014–January 4, 2015. The Arkell Museum is located just off exit 29 on the New York State Thruway, halfway between Albany and Utica.